The decision to choose a diploma over a degree is an important life choice that needs to be weighed up with all the facts in mind. In an ever-changing and competitive job market, vocational education can make you more able to accomplish your career and life goals than a degree will.
If you are choosing to further your study, you will most likely be a motivated person and will do well in your career regardless.
You could be finishing secondary schooling and looking for the first logical step in your career journey. Or, you might be a seasoned professional deciding to take a new career path. Many diploma students have been in their occupation for a few years and know that the right qualification will escalate pay rise or promotion opportunities.
Australians are opting for diplomas over degrees more and more often, here are 7 of the top reasons:
1. Diplomas make you job-ready, faster
Many university degrees will focus on theory-based knowledge that may not guarantee you the career or position you want. Vocational education gives you the opportunity to understand the skills you need while allowing you to put these skills into practice while you study. Once you are qualified, you will feel confident to apply your knowledge and capabilities in an interview and on the job.
2. You are more likely to be hired and valued
There is currently a shortage of vocational workers in a range of sectors. The skill shortage in Australia ensures that what you learn from completing a diploma is highly valuable to employers. Recent research has proven that 78% of VET graduates are employed after training and were able to find work after their studies exceeded the number of jobs found by Bachelor degree graduates.
3. You will potentially earn more from the beginning
On average, people with a Certificate III or IV qualification in Australia are earning $3,200 more than Bachelor degrees graduate in their first year out of study.
A 2017 report cites that the median full-time income for a VET graduate is $56,000. Whereas, the median graduate salary for students completing a bachelor’s degree is $54,000. Often VET graduates can earn higher salaries than many bachelor’s degree graduates.
4. Diplomas can be completed in significantly less time
University degrees require a minimum of three years of full-time study, while diplomas need only two years at the very most. Most diplomas can be completed within a year or much less. Due to the practical nature of diplomas, the amount of time you spend learning and completing assignments will be greatly lessened, allowing you to enter the workforce and reap the benefits sooner.
5. Diplomas are a fraction of the cost and provide better value for money
Undergraduate degrees can cost upwards of $15,000 in course fee alone, whereas diplomas can cost less than half, or a third of that price. In addition, just like university degrees, the government offers some fee help schemes for people who undertake courses for a diploma. Your diploma course provider can assist you to see if you are eligible.
6. Diplomas often have fewer rigid pre-requisites and more people like you
Particularly for high-school graduates, universities do look for specific ATAR scores and there is a competitive application process for acceptance into their limited-seats courses. Vocational courses are less reliant on these scores, giving you a better chance of being accepted into the course of your choice. When courses are conducted online, there is no limit on the number of students. If you are older, you will find more of your peers in chat rooms and learning forums when you undertake a diploma.
7. Learning is flexible
The best vocational education courses can be started at any time of the year because unlike degrees, they don’t have to follow a higher education calendar. Many diploma and certification courses can be taken online so you can to finish a diploma part-time while you work. You might need to consider the opportunity cost of waiting for the next degree intake and missing out of a pending opportunity that requires a respected qualification. If timing or other flexibility is a factor, then a diploma is a smart and accessible choice.
With the right qualifications, you’ll be able to plan your career choices and utilise your skills. In many cases, a diploma is the best answer: it comes at a fraction of the cost, time and effort, and equips you with better practical skills and confidence for your new career.
Find out more about our online Diplomas and how they could work for you.