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

The University has a formal method for comparing your kowledge and skills gained through informal learning (the hours of service in 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).

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

Table 1: High level comparability of ANZSCO Skill Levels to AQF Qualification Levels, by years of service.

ANZSCO Skill LevelMinimum Full Time ExperienceComparable AQF Qualification Levels
1 five (5) years AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree (or higher qualification)
2 three (3) years

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

3 two (2) years AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV; or AQF Level 3 - Certificate III

Credit transfer for informal learning

To estimate the amount of credit transfer you may be awarded into a related Southern Cross course, based on your life or work experience and expertise, follow these steps:

  1. Search ANZSCO for an occupation listing the same or similar tasks and responsibilities as you perform in your 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. Use Table 1 to check the minimum years of full time equivalent service required at that ANZSCO Skill Level;
  5. Refer to Table 2 to determine an equivalent AQF Qualification Level, based on your actual full time equivalent years of service; and
  6. 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. 

Table 2: Equivalence of minimum ANZSCO Skill Levels and years of service to AQF Qualification Levels, aligned to the Southern Cross University Advanced Standing and Recognition of Prior Learning Procedures – Schedule 1

Equivalent AQF Qualification Level at Southern Cross University

Minimum Full Time Equivalent Experience 

ANZSCO Skill Level 1

Minimum Full Time Equivalent Experience 

ANZSCO Skill Level 2

Minimum Full Time Equivalent Experience 

ANZSCO Skill Level 3

AQF Level 8 - Graduate Diploma nine (9) years    
AQF Level 8 - Bachelor Honours Degree or Graduate Certificate seven (7) years    
AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree five (5) years    
AQF Level 6 - Associate Degree three (3) years four (4) years  
AQF Level 6 - Advanced Diploma two (2) years three (3) years  
AQF Level 5 - Diploma one (1) year two (2) years  
AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV   one (1) year two (2) years


Proficiency and currency are not the same thing. Currency standards have a lot to do with best practice and staying leagal, where proficcency 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/recency 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. 

About evidence

Advanced Standing decisions must be evidence based. You must present sufficient evidence, adequate enough for the assessor to justify a credit transfer decision. You must show the many way 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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