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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.

However, recently we have seen an increase in adult and mature apprentices and trainees, 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 the same 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 cannot 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 or traineeship in the same qualification. This doesn't mean you can't do one at all!

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship with a qualification at a higher level. For example, if you have done a Certificate II in Business, you could do a Certificate III in Business traineeship. You might even 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 in some circumstances.

You may be able to do an apprenticeship or traineeship at the same level, providing it leads to a different occupation outcome that is listed on the National Skills Needs List (NSNL).

The rules around what you can and can’t do as an apprenticeship or traineeship if you have already completed a qualification are complex.

There are 3 areas of your previous qualification that taken into consideration:

  • What industry your previous qualification was in;
  • What certificate level it was;
  • The year you commenced that qualification.

Then these areas of the apprenticeship or traineeship you want to do are considered:

  • What certificate level it is;
  • Is it on the National Skills Needs List (NSNL);
  • Does it lead to a different occupational outcome.

With so many factors in each decision it is best to check your eligibility with your Australian Apprentice Support Network (AASN) provider before you make any decisions about accepting an offer of an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Australian Apprenticeships qualifications

Australian Apprenticeships qualifications


Most apprenticeships and traineeships are done at a certificate III level. If you enrol in a certificate III qualification you might be able to transition into an apprenticeship or traineeship part way through. However, once you have completed a qualification, you are not able to do the same qualification again. This includes doing that qualification as an apprenticeship or traineeship.

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