What is an RTO?

Posted on Feb 27, 2020

An RTO is a Registered Training Organisation. In Australia, this means a training provider registered by ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) or a state regulator. RTOs can reliably and effectively deliver VET (Vocational Education and Training) services through quality training and nationally recognised qualifications.

As of 2020, there are around 5000 RTOs in Australia. It’s possible to access a complete list of these RTOs on the national register or search for particular courses to explore the skills that are available to learn and improve. High-quality, trustworthy vocational education and training are central and crucial to Australia’s economic prosperity. VET provides the launching pad that students need to contribute positively and effectively to the national workforce.

You can count on RTOs to:

  • Deliver useful and relevant nationally recognised courses

  • Deliver compliant and accredited Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) VET qualifications

  • Knowledgeably apply for Australian, state and territory funding to provide VET.

RTOs are in a position of trust. In order to become ‘registered’, they must meet the Australian Quality Training Framework 2019 (AQTF 2019) standards. This helps to regulate and govern the quality and content of VET services across the country. 

RTOs can offer a wide range of qualifications at the following levels:

  • Certificates I, II, III and IV

  • Diploma

  • Advanced Diploma

  • Graduate Certificate

  • Graduate Diploma.

Choosing to study with an RTO can be based on two goals: entering vocational education for the first time, or looking to expand knowledge in a specific employment area. Learning the essentials will help students succeed in their chosen industry area and employers will recognise accredited qualifications from reputable RTOs. Knowing the institution has aligned to nationally-required standards, there is an automatic and consistent engagement with a range of industries. 

Types of RTOs include:

  • TAFE colleges and institutes

  • Adult and community education providers

  • Private providers

  • Community organisations

  • Schools

  • Higher education institutions

  • Commercial and enterprise training providers

  • Industry bodies

  • Other organisations that meet registration requirements. 

The RTO must also clearly state its scope of registration, detailing:

  • The training or assessment methods it plans to deliver

  • The industries and fields in which it plans to deliver training or assessment

  • The highest level of qualifications it can issue.

Registration is monitored and requires renewal every five years in the relevant state or territory. This authority will also audit the RTO during any time within the period of registration. 

The role of ASQA 

ASQA is the widely-known national regulator for Australia’s VET sector. Its vision is to increase student, employer and government confidence in the quality and availability of VET courses delivered by Australian RTOs. 

This means strict regulation across the country, including:

  • The Australian Capital Territory

  • New South Wales

  • The Northern Territory

  • South Australia

  • Queensland

  • Tasmania.

ASQA is also the regulatory body for RTOs in Western Australia and Victoria that:

  • Provide courses to overseas students

  • Provide courses to students (including online courses) in:

  • the Australian Capital Territory

  • New South Wales

  • the Northern Territory

  • South Australia

  • Queensland

  • Tasmania.

ASQA can also assess courses to identify whether they are compliant with the ‘Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012’, ‘Australian Qualifications Framework’ (AQF) and National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. If a VET course is deemed compliant then it becomes accredited. 

Accreditation formally indicates the course: 

  • Is recognised across Australia and meets quality compliance requirements

  • Clearly meets an established community, legislative, educational, enterprise or industry need

  • Transparently provides appropriate and relevant competency outcomes and a suitable basis for assessment

  • Appropriately aligns to the AQF where it leads to a VET qualification. 

RTOs have obligations to ASQA and must meet specific requirements in order to align with the overall vision. These obligations have deadlines and RTOs will need to be aware of these dates to keep in line with ASQA. You can check here(other article) to see what 2020 will bring for RTOs.