VCE / VCAL / VET Explained

VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) Program

The VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) is a two-year certificate, which is primarily designed to give students the opportunity to apply for tertiary education or seek employment.

The main requirements to obtain the VCE are:

  • Minimum of sixteen semester units satisfactorily completed.
  • Minimum of eight units must be at unit 3 & 4 level (Year 12). These units MUST be four 3/4 sequences.
  • Minimum of three units of the English area of study. Units 3 and 4 must be satisfactorily completed.


Most tertiary education offers are based on a student’s ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) which is obtained using scores from Unit 3 / 4 English and the next 3 best scores at Year 12 level. Students can also gain a 10% increment for up to two more subjects. A total of six subjects can count towards a student’s ATAR. More information about the ATAR can be found at http://www.vtac.edu.au/results-offers/atar-explained.html.


VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) Program

The VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) is a one-year certificate, which is designed to allow students to gain hands on experiences that primarily prepare them for gaining employment, including apprenticeships and traineeships.

The VCAL can be undertaken at any of three different levels. These are Foundation, Intermediate (predominantly Year 11 students) or Senior (predominantly Year 12 students). The certificate level is determined by the level of the majority of units studied.

Students who undertake the VCAL course must satisfy these requirements to be awarded the certificate:

  • Minimum of ten semester units satisfactorily completed.
  • Minimum of one unit from each of these five strands – Literacy, Numeracy, Industry Specific, Personal Development / Work Related Studies.
  • Minimum of two VCAL units.


Industry specific studies are the VCE/VET units such as VET Screen & Media or VET Automotive.

VET (Vocational Education & Training) Delivered to Secondary School Students

What is Vocational Education & Training (VET)

The VET delivered to Secondary School Students (Vocational Education & Training) program combines general VCE or VCAL studies with vocational training and experience.

VET delivered to Secondary Students

Vocational Education & Training (VET) is a fully integrated component of the VCE and the VCAL. This allows students to combine their VCE and VCAL with targeted vocational training and experience in the workplace.

A VET subject is compulsory for VCAL students and optional for VCE students. VET subjects have a vocational focus, providing students with a nationally recognised or state accredited qualification in a range of industry areas. Students wishing to study a VET subject should have a vocational pathway and be prepared to undertake extra work outside of school hours.

To gain maximum credit, VCE students are required to study a number of compulsory VCE units. Within the VCE, up to eight units may be VET units.

Students undertaking the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) are required to complete a minimum of 90 hours of VET units of competency for both VCAL Intermediate and VCAL Senior.

Successful completion of a VET program provides students with:

  • A Nationally recognised qualification (VET Certificate or Statement of Attainment) issued by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to complement your VCE or VCAL.
  • An enhanced Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), where the program has a 3/4 sequence, that can improve access to further education.
  • The ability to progress into further vocational education and training courses.


Workplace experience including structured workplace learning (whilst this is not compulsory for all VET programs it is highly recommended).


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