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The Impact of Vocational Training on Salary and Earning Potential

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Vocational training and education have become an increasingly popular option for individuals who want to further their education and improve their career prospects. While traditional academic routes like university degrees remain popular, vocational training offers an alternative path to success – arming one with more hands-on, “job-ready” skills to jumpstart their career in the workforce.

Below, we explore the impact of this study pathway on one’s earning potential in Australia and how Upskilled offers such training to help you strive for your dream career. 

What is vocational training (and why is it popular)?

First things first, what is vocational training? Vocational education and training (VET) is a study pathway that focuses on providing practical knowledge and experience for specific careers. Commonly designed in collaboration with industry experts, such skills can often be directly applied to the workforce – helping graduates find employment faster. This training typically comes in the form of apprenticeships, traineeships, certificates and diplomas, and is provided by TAFE colleges, private providers and certain universities.

Additionally, VET training also offers a more affordable and accessible option for individuals who may not have the means or desire to pursue a university degree. According to a 2021 report by the National Skills Commission, the average VET student can expect to pay fees as low as $1,100 (though this can increase depending on qualification level) – compared to the average annual tuition fees for an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Australia, which can range between $20,000 to $45,000 AUD.  

The salary benefits of vocational training

Increased earning potential

One of the most significant benefits of vocational training is the ability to earn more as a graduate. According to a report by the Skilling Australia Foundation (SAF), the median annual starting salary for VET graduates sits at $56,000 AUD, compared to $54,000 for graduates from bachelor’s degree programs.

Among the highest-paying VET programs upon completion (as of 2022 NCVER statistics) include engineering and related technologies (with a $68,500 AUD median income); education ($67,800 AUD); management and commerce ($65,200 AUD); and information technology ($60,000 AUD). Of course, the higher the qualification level – the higher the potential income, with courses at a diploma level or higher earning a median income of $70,400 AUD among full-time workers.

Career advancement

Vocational training can also lead to plenty of career advancement opportunities. Many VET courses are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to progress in your current role or enter a new one altogether. This enhanced experience can thus lead to greater earnings in the long run.

A person with a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41419), for example, may be able to progress to a higher-paying supervisory role within their company. Similarly, a person with a Diploma of Business Leadership (BSB50120) may be able to advance to a management role.

According to the 2022 employment outcomes among VET graduates (as reported by NCVER) 65% of students who completed their VET training had improved their employment outcome upon course completion, with 49.6% of unemployed students finding a job after their training. With the main goals for training being “to get a job” and “to gain extra skills for my current job”, 87.2% of students reported they have achieved their main reason for the study.

Industry-specific skills

Vocational training provides individuals with industry-specific skills that are highly sought after by employers.
For instance, Upskilled offers a wide range of IT-related courses in some of the industry’s most in-demand sectors – these include cyber security, cloud computing and data science. Such areas of tech are highly technical and face growing skills gaps, thus offering generous salaries to those with the right skills and experience. Through vocational courses, students could not only delve into the specific knowledge required for these areas – but also arm themselves with the practical, work-ready skillsets to immediately stand out in the job market.

According to NCVER, VET qualifications allow graduates to “hit the ground running” in their chosen career path, compared to the often more theory-based, academic learning provided by higher education institutions. VET students reportedly have more experience in using the specific tools, software and equipment required to successfully perform their jobs upon finding employment.

Shorter training time

Finally, vocational training typically offers shorter training periods than traditional university degrees. Most VET courses can be completed in 12-24 months, depending on the course and level of qualification. This means that individuals can enter the workforce sooner and start earning money faster than if they were to pursue a university degree.

Plenty of Upskilled’s IT courses, for instance, can be completed in a span of 12-18 months, compared to the 4-year computer science degrees offered at traditional universities. Additionally, there are also plenty of bootcamp courses on offer, allowing students to get a “starter feel” of their chosen career path before dedicating months of training to the industry. Such programs can take as short as 3-5 months to complete, with the longest-running bootcamps running for 12 months.

Additionally, plenty of vocational training options are now offered online – and Upskilled is no exception. This further adds to the cost-effectiveness of VET courses; not only do they provide a more affordable pathway to further education, but plenty can also help you save by relieving the need to travel to an actual campus and invest in its resources.

Pursue vocational training with Upskilled today!

As stated by Skills Minister Michaela Cash: “University is for learning, VET is for earning”. Such a claim may hold some weight in the face of current student outcomes in the vocational sector.

If you’re looking to get some hands-on experience in your desired industry today, Upskilled offers an extensive selection of training courses in some of Australia’s most in-demand sectors. From technical programs in IT to education in business, we provide the practical, “job-ready” stepping stones to get you started. Best of all, each course is delivered online, helping you train at a time, place and pace that suits you best.

Boost your earning potential through a valuable VET course and get in touch with us today.

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Start your next course with Upskilled. Enter your details in the form below.

*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.