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Can I do an apprenticeship if I already have the qualification?

Many people who start an apprenticeship or traineeship have not done any post-school education. This is particularly true amongst young school-leavers.

Recently we have seen an increase in adult and mature apprentices, and young people who complete a vocational qualification either at school or prior to starting an apprenticeship or traineeship. For these people it is important to keep in mind that you can't re-do a vocational qualification once you have completed it.

This means that if you have done a certain certificate or diploma, you won't be able to do the same one as an apprenticeship or traineeship. For people who want to do some training before starting an apprenticeship or traineeship, this is important to remember.

Can I do an apprenticeship if I already did the certificate?

The short answer to this is: No.

An apprenticeship or traineeship combines employment and formal education towards a vocational qualification. Once you have a qualification you are unable to do the same qualification again.

This means that if you do a qualification as a course by itself, you can not then do the same thing as an apprenticeship or traineeship.

So if I already have a qualification, I can't do an apprenticeship?

You can't do an apprenticeship in the same qualification. This doesn't mean you can't do an apprenticeship or traineeship at all!

You can do an apprenticeship with a qualification at a higher level. For example, if you have done a Certificate II in Business, you could do an apprenticeship with a Certificate III in Business. You might be able to get recognition for prior learning towards your apprenticeship or traineeship qualification, and do it more quickly.

You can also do an apprenticeship or traineeship in a different area. For example, if you have done a Certificate III in Business, but now want to become an Electrician, that is fine!

The main this is, you can't do the same qualification again.

Australian Apprenticeships qualifications

Australian Apprenticeships qualifications


Most apprenticeships and traineeships are done at a certificate III level. If you enrol in a certificate III you might be able to transition into an apprenticeship part way through.

Once you have completed a qualification, you are not able to do the same qualification again. This includes doing that qualification as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Certificate III

Certificate III


Certificate III courses make up most Australian Apprenticeship qualifications, with 80% of apprentices and trainees at this level. Only 20% of apprenticeships and traineeships are done at the other levels - the next most popular being certificate IV and certificate II.

Certificate III courses are also the most popular vocational qualifications across all vocational education and training students, with 27% enrolled at this level. There is a wide variation across courses, with certificate II (16%), certificate IV (14%) and diploma and above (17%) all popular.

Already have a vocational qualification?

Already have a vocational qualification?


Our Job Pathways charts show you which Job & Training Descriptions are related to each other, and what qualification level they are done at.

If you already have a certificate, this is a good way to see what you can do at a higher level as an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Go to Job Pathways
Want to study before starting an apprenticeship?

Want to study before starting an apprenticeship?


If you want to do some study before starting an apprenticeship or traineeship, then a pre-apprenticeship might be for you!

Take a look at our pre-apprenticeship search to see if there are courses in your industry of interest and state or territory.

If you don't see anything on the pre-apprenticeship finder, try calling your local TAFE or vocational education provider.

Go to Pre-Apprenticeships search

Data in this article are taken from the National Center for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Apprenticeship fiqures and qualification types are from the NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, unpublished, 2017. Vocational education and training figures are from the NCVER Total VET Activity infographic, https://www.ncver.edu.au/data/data/infographics/total-vet-students-and-courses-2016-infographic, accessed 15 September 2017.