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Academic and career pathways

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​​​​​​​​Queensland Government schools not only provide an excellent education and help you to move through every stage of school easily but also provide opportunities for faster, experience-based or ​even direct-entry pathways to Australian universities, TAFE and vocational education institutions.​

Study and career guidance

Our high schools have guidance officers who help you choose the best academic pathways, subjects, and options for higher education or starting your career.

​Graduation from high school

Most students receive a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) when they graduate and most students who receive a QCE receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Students may then continue to their next level of study at one of the below pathways​:

  • university
  • Technical and Further Education Queensland (TAFE)​ or vocational education provider.

Pathway: High school to university

If you wish to study at a Queensland university after Year 12, you need to get an ATAR. The ATAR is us​ed to assess and rank university applications. Some university courses may also have other course entry requirements.

If you are a Year 12 student and did not study the subjects needed for an ATAR, your results from other subjects (including approved vocational education and training) can help to determine your selection rank.

At some of our schools, Year 11 and 12 students can enrol in university pathway and experience programs and earn tertiary course credit towards a degree or higher education program.

Through these programs you can also access university facilities including sports, libraries and study spaces. Queensland is a centre of excellence for education and research, and we have many world-class universities.

​Pathway: High school to Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET providers offer a range of short courses, certificates, diplomas, and associate and bachelor degree programs that combine theoretical and practical job-focused training. Australian VET study provides graduates with job-ready skills and internationally recognised qualifications.

Technical and Further Education ​Queensland (TAFE) is one VET provider with a network made up of 7 regions across Queensland.

VET courses can equip you with the skills and knowledge to work in specific industries. VET qualifications can also be used as partial credit towards a QCE, which you can then use to access higher education pathways such as university or TAFE.

The benefits of studying VET courses include:

  • practical work experience
  • job-ready skills
  • a chance to try different careers.

Many of our schools offer VET and some have their own trade training centres.

VET at high school

At some of our schools, you can study a VET subject during Year 11 or 12.

These programs provide you with access to VET campus facilities and other benefits that may include credit towards the QCE, direct entry into a VET program, or credit towards a degree or higher education program.

VET after high school

VET courses can prepare you for a career or further study. You can choose to:

  • study to improve your ATAR and then qualify for entry to university courses
  • study towards a degree
  • study a VET diploma and university degree together through a dual award program.​
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Last updated 28 June 2022