Informal experience and formal qualifications - how do they compare for Advanced Standing?

The University has a formal method for comparing the knowledge and skills you have gained through informal learning (the hours of service in an an occupation, a voluntary role or life's passions and experiences) to formal learning (the study of a qualification), using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

National Comparability of Industry Experience to Australian Qualifications

The indicative skill level of a standard Australian occupation and years of full time equivalent (FTE) service at that level of skill, has a direct and consistent relationship to Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Qualification Levels. This relationship is summarised in Table 1.

Table 1: National comparability of ANZSCO Skill Levels to AQF Qualification Levels, by minimum years of FTE service

ANZSCO Skill LevelMin. FTE Years in ANZSCO OccupationComparable AQF Qualification Level
ANZSCO Skill Level 1 5 AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree (or higher qualification)
ANZSCO Skill Level 2 3

AQF Level 6 - Associate Degree, or Advanced Diploma; or AQF Level 5 - Diploma

ANZSCO Skill Level 3 2 AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV; or AQF Level 3 - Certificate III

Equivalence of Industry Experience to Southern Cross Qualifications

Table 2: Equivalence of informal industry experience, by minimum years of FTE service to formal Southern Cross qualifications

AQF Qualification

Min. FTE Years in a Cognate Occupation

ANZSCO Skill Level 1 *

Min. FTE Years in a Cognate Occupation

ANZSCO Skill Level 2

Min. FTE Years in a Cognate Occupation

ANZSCO Skill Level 3

AQF Level 8 - Bachelor Honours Degree or Graduate Diploma 9    
AQF Level 8 - Graduate Certificate 7    
AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree 5    
AQF Level 6 - Associate Degree 3 4  
AQF Level 6 - Advanced Diploma 2 3  
AQF Level 5 - Diploma 1 2  
AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV   1 2

* A person holds an Indigenous leadership role where they have responsibility to protect Country and conduct ceremony within their local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community. 

Search the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) to identify the skill level of your occupation.

Equivalence of Industry Experience and Lower Qualifications to Southern Cross Qualifications

The University may consider the knowledge and skills gained in lower level qualifications you hold in combination with your on-the-job experience and expertise for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) via Advanced Standing.

Download the guide to Australian Qualification Equivalence for Industry Experience and Lower Study PDF to know more about the combinations of occupational experience and lower study that may substitute for holding a higher formal Australian qualification.

Estimate Credit Transfer amounts for Industry Experience

To estimate the amount of credit transfer you may be awarded into a related Southern Cross course, based on your informal industry experience, follow these steps:

  1. Search ANZSCO for an occupation with similar tasks and responsibilities as you perform in your current/previous role.
  2. Record the occupation code and title, along with the names of similar roles;
  3. Identify the occupation's indicative ANZSCO Skill Level;
  4. Refer to Table 2 (above) to determine an equivalent AQF Qualification Level, based on your actual FTE years of service; and
  5. Download Schedule 1 of the Advanced Standing and Recognition of Prior Learning Procedures.

To determine the amount of credit transfer you may be granted as a student at Southern Cross University, use Schedule 1 to identify the AQF Qualification that represents you prior learning and the qualification level of the cognate Southern Cross course you will study.


Proficiency and currency are different. Currency standards have a lot to do with best practice and staying legal, where proficiency is about being competent and prepared to handle any situation professionally. Generally, credit transfer will not be awarded for learning completed more than ten years prior to the date of your application, unless you are able to establish that your knowledge and skills are up-to-date, due to more recent and ongoing learning in a relevant field. 

Minimum requirements for currency depend on the profession, the level of experience held and, if applicable, the length of absence from the field. Even if you have studied a qualification within the last ten years, you could be asked to provide supporting documents to demonstrate the ways you have generated and maintained currency of practice, for instance through, professional memberships with peek bodies, on-the-job training, research or professional development. 


Advanced Standing decisions must be evidence based. You must present sufficient supporting documents, adequate enough for the assessor to justify a credit transfer decision. You must show the many ways that your knowledge, skills and experience relate to the content and learning outcomes of a unit or units in your Southern Cross course. Context is important. Before you apply for Advanced Standing, read the RPL Portfolio Evidence Guide and complete the Form available from apply for Advanced Standing.

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