Recognition of Prior Learning - FAQ

What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) recognises the skills you have gained through formal or informal training on the job or through paid work, volunteer work and/or any previous training. By using your existing skills, knowledge and experience, recognition of your previous skills and experience helps you gain a formal qualification.


  • get that piece of paper you have always wanted
  • gain a nationally recognised qualification in a shorter period of time
  • don't repeat or waste time learning what you already know
  • you could save money in fees by only learning what you really need
  • provide a pathway to higher education and university
  • provides you with formal recognition of your skills

Anyone can apply. If you think that you have already gained the skills and experience for a unit or an entire qualification, a successful RPL application means you can be recognised as competent for parts of, or a whole, nationally recognised qualification.

Not everyone will receive recognition for their skills and knowledge. Some qualifications may have specific requirements that need to be met before you will be eligible for RPL. This may include having worked in the job for a number of years, or having completed a previous qualification.

Once the application has been lodged, an assessor will be assigned to you. If the assessor agrees you are eligible for RPL, you will be required to provide evidence to prove your competency. Providing evidence may involve:

  • answering questions about your experience and work skills
  • demonstrating your skills and knowledge through practical tasks
  • providing other evidence such as resumes, previous job descriptions, references and other relevant workplace documents

Once you have submitted your application, it takes between four to six weeks. If the evidence you submitted is not enough, then your assessor will ask you to provide more information. Once the assessment is successfully completed, then you will be issued with a Statement of Attainment for partial completion or awarded a Certificate of Completion for an entire qualification depending on the evidence submitted.

If you enrol for RPL which carries a government subsidy, you will pay fees for each unit of competency in which you enrol. 

As of 01 July 2018, RPL costs $65 per unit, up to a maximum of $1000 per candidate per qualification

If you are a State Government employee, RPL rates are fee-for-service and will be calculated for you when you discuss what qualification or units you will be applying for.

RPL conducted under an indentured contract (Apprenticeship or traineeship) is costed at $65.00 per unit, capped at $1000 per candidate

Class A qualification RPL (under Trade Skills Recognition Policy) is fee-for-service

You will be supported throughout the whole process by TAFE staff who will provide you with:

  • information on the RPL process
  • help completing forms
  • information on the costs involved
  • information on evidence you need to gather to support your application

Skills can be recognised through a combination of the following:

  • direct observation of your work

  • verbal questioning
  • challenge testing
  • a collection of documentation providing evidence of your competency.

When you apply for formal recognition of the skills you may already have, we compare the things you have learnt with the requirements of the units in the course. If you can demonstrate that you have already achieved the outcomes of a particular unit, you may be given recognition for that unit and not have to attend class.

  • prepare an overview of your business and the services you provide if you are the business owner
  • prepare a resume outlining where you have worked, paid and/or unpaid
  • gather your position descriptions and any performance reviews you have had in previous roles
  • prepare contact names or where you have worked if an assessor needs to talk to you as an employer or any previous employers
  • prepare a list of people or clients who can confirm your skills, such as a current or recent supervisor.
  • collect any certificates you have from formal or informal training
  • gather records of any professional development you have undertaken
  • gather any references, acknowledgements or other relevant documents to support the application

To gain any recognition for study completed some time ago you will need to show how you have been applying and maintaining your skills and knowledge.

RPL applies where there is no credit equivalence between the formal units you previously completed and the area you are being assessed against now.


Does RPL have the same requirements as other assessments?

The assessment process is as rigorous as any other assessment. The type of evidence that you will be asked for may vary from that which would be required if you joined the formal classes.

If I need help anytime throughout the process, what do I do?

Contact the assessor assigned to you at any time throughout the process.

What if I can't find my old qualifications?

Contact the institution where you completed your studies to determine whether they are able to provide you with a copy of your Statement of Achievement or Record of Results. Not having a qualification will not prevent you from going through an RPL process.

Can I just show you my skills rather than have to dig out old qualifications?

You can demonstrate your skills and knowledge without having to present your qualifications. The process may simply take a little more time to verify.

If my RPL application is unsuccessful, do I pay again if I enrol in a class?

Your RPL is considered to be an enrolment. If you are unsuccessful and want to enrol in a class you will need to pay again.

If I enrol then find I already know the work can I go through the RPL process?

If you find yourself in this situation, talk to your lecturer. Provided that the training provided that has occurred is not significant, your enrolment can be converted to RPL. You may elect to undertake a challenge assessment.