Qualification Prices: How Much is That Piece of Paper Worth?
Have you ever wondered about qualification prices – how they are set, and how the cost of Recognition of Prior Learning is calculated? In November 2020, we were approached to participate in the National Skills Commission’s review of the price of VET qualifications. This was a review of what it costs to deliver quality training in Australia across qualifications from Certificate I level all the way up to Graduate Diploma.
We explained that we are focused largely on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments, rather than delivering training, so together, we agreed that we were not best placed to assist the Commission in this instance.
We were eager to read the results, though…
The report has now been completed and the results are useful for considering the questions of price and value when it comes to getting qualified.
Price and value are both subjective.
What is costly in the minds of one person is not in the mind of another, and what is valuable in the minds of some is not in the minds of others. It is something we all experience in different areas of our lives from big purchases to small.
RPL assessments take considerable time, staff, compliance and expertise. Being accredited as a Registered Training Organisation takes considerable time, expertise, staff and compliance.
If it was simply a case of eyeballing someone and saying, “Yes, your experience warrants a qualification. I’ll hit print now – just go stand by the printer,” it would make sense that it was the cost of the paper and the printer. But in the same way the experience took a lot more to build up for the RPL candidate, RPL as an assessment method take a lot more to complete.
So, how do you measure the cost and value of an RPL assessment?
When we began offering our Recognition of Prior Learning services back in January 2006, we used a benchmark of approximately 50% of the cost of training and assessment.
It is the assessment process and adhering to the national standards that draws the greatest scrutiny from our Regulator, Australian Skills Quality Authority, in any audit and protects the integrity of Australian qualifications. This is vital in ensuring your qualification is viewed positively by employers and industry bodies.
Using that benchmark, we looked at the National Skills Commission’s results for the highest volume qualifications completed in Australia. The results show that our RPL fees are sitting well below the average cost of studying qualifications.
If we consider the Management and Commerce qualifications, which many of Churchill’s qualifications fall under, the average prices are:
|Certificate I||Certificate II||Certificate III||Certificate IV||Diploma||Advanced Diploma|
Our scope of registration extends to Graduate Diploma level but the Commission didn’t examine the Graduate Diplomas in this field. Looking at what universities are charging to study a Graduate Diploma, the fees range from $20,000 to $30,000 on average.
These specific qualifications were considered by the Commission and are qualifications we issue:
|Qualification||National Average Training & Assessment Price||Minimum Training and Assessment Jurisdiction Price||Maximum Training and Assessment Jurisdiction Price|
|Certificate III in Business Administration||$4100 – $5300||$2200||$8100|
|Certificate III in Business||$4100 – $4800||$2800||$7000|
|Certificate III in Warehousing Operations||$6500||$1600||$10700|
|Certificate IV in Leadership and Management||$5000 – $5300||$3600||$6800|
|Diploma of Leadership and Management||$6300 – $6800||$4400||$7600|
Whilst there are always cut-price sellers in any market, when you look at average prices coming out of the Commission, it is easier to get an idea of prices for courses (using training and assessment) coming from quality providers.
Churchill’s RPL Fees
Rather than having different RPL assessment prices for different qualifications, we have taken a simpler approach. We have a consistent fee structure according to the level of qualification.
Looking at the national average training and assessment prices for management and commerce qualifications, then compare these to Churchill’s RPL fees, you can see potential savings like this:
|Certificate III||Certificate IV||Diploma||Advanced Diploma||Graduate Diploma|
National Training Average Price
|$4500||$5100||$6600||$7100||Average Uni price $20000 – $30000|
Churchill RPL Price
|$3505||$3805||$4905||$5105||$16500 – $26500|
|78%||75%||75%||72%||82.5% – 88%|
Save Time & Money
Across many courses, the expectation by the Australian Government is that you will take between 1 – 2 years on average to study a qualification.
For many of the people Churchill has worked with, this means you are finding time outside of your ongoing commitments to your employment and family to wedge in your study.
This then brings us to the cost and value of an RPL assessment.
A good RPL candidate has spent significant time learning on the job – usually well in excess of the 1 to 2 years you would expect to spend if you were studying the course afresh.
For that reason, we have made sure that we have developed an RPL assessment method that lets you get on with your regular life once you have given us the proof of your experience – while our team gets on with the job of lining up all of that experience against the assessment requirements of the qualification.
You have saved time and there is both a cost saving and value to be found for the RPL graduate.
Then we have layered in additional time savings, moving quickly to complete your RPL assessment so that you are able to be competitive promptly in the job market.
More and more, qualifications are being required by employers to be successful in meeting their position requirements.
Higher level qualifications are linked with higher wages across Australia – and higher wages also lead to higher superannuation contributions. You can see that your financial well-being can be helped or hindered by making sure that you are well placed for career progression.
In the first instance, you still need to pay for the qualifications you want to obtain by RPL. Some training organisations have a confusing mix of prices. Others try to sell you every level of qualification in a particular field – even though you may only need one qualification. They are focused on their sales rather than your career.
We are different for a reason.
We started offering RPL services after Randall found himself in a position where his experience needed to be translated to something other employers would understand, outside of the police.
We found the money to pay for the qualifications because we knew they were vital assets for his next career step – but we still had to find the money from the family budget.
So, we decided to offer prices and a service that represented the best value we possibly could.
And because we felt like we could really have used the help to choose the right qualifications for Randall’s situation, we promised ourselves we would always give you the best advice around qualifications for industries and opportunities.
When we give you qualification recommendations, we make sure that these line up with the career you have carefully built and the direction you are heading. This means that we will never list every qualification that you have sailed through as you grew in your career – just the highest level in that qualification package for where you are sitting now.
If you would like to speak to a Skills Recognition Advisor to find out what qualifications you are eligible for, and receive advice on what qualifications will best support your career goals, get in touch, the preliminary assessment is free: 1300 793 002 / firstname.lastname@example.org