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Guide for adult learners

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What are the educational options for students over 18 years of age?

If you are 18 years or older and would like to complete or continue your education, there are a number of pathways you may wish to consider. The best option for you will depend upon your study and career goals. By identifying these goals and your motives for undertaking further study, you can find the most suitable pathway for your situation. 

It may not be necessary for you to return to high school in order to achieve your desired result. Utilising the flexible learning styles and condensed programs available to adult students will ensure you can select the quickest and easiest path to accomplish your goals. 

Is returning to school the right pathway?

If you are wishing to complete your standard secondary studies, you may wish to consider studying through TAFE Queensland, one of the Queensland schools of distance education, or as a mature age student at a mature age state school.  

TAFE Queensland online

By studying with TAFE Queensland, you can achieve a Year 10, or Years 11 and 12, equivalent qualification in an encouraging and relaxed adult education setting.

Through TAFE Queensland you can enrol in an online course at any time of the year, study at your own pace, anywhere at a time that is convenient for you, and pay as you go. Your previous education, training, work experience and life experiences may help you gain credit towards your course.

Call 13 72 48 for further information on studying Year 10, or Year 11 and 12 at TAFE.

Distance education

Through the Queensland schools of distance education, you can complete your senior studies from home. Fee free distance education is available to eligible adult learners who live at least 16 kilometres from a mature age state school, or where the enrolment at a mature age state school has been refused by the Director-General of the Department of Education. Contact a school of distance education to find out more about home-based learning.

Mature age state schools

The list of mature age state schools can be found at https://education.qld.gov.au/careers/pathways/adult-learners/completing-high-school-education.  Information on who is an eligible mature age applicant can be found in the Mature age student applications procedure.

To apply for enrolment as a mature age student, you should first discuss the rules and conditions of your enrolment with the principal of the mature age state school you wish to attend. If you have previously been excluded from that school, you may not be eligible to apply.

If you are an eligible mature age applicant, your enrolment at a mature age state school is subject to:

  • a criminal history check
  • how many years of enrolment you have already had in a school
  • the subject availability and capacity of the mature age school. 

Preparing for tertiary study

It is not always necessary to complete schooling up to Year 12 in order to access tertiary education. There are several alternate pathways for adults who are returning to study.

University bridging courses

By undertaking a university bridging course, you can develop the confidence, knowledge and skills necessary for tertiary entrance. Many bridging courses offer flexible learning styles and enrolment by distance, helping you to find the best option for you. 

Contact your preferred university for information about available bridging courses. For contact details and campus information, visit the list of Queensland universities.

TAFE Queensland

TAFE Queensland offers a Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation, which aims to provide people aged over 18 years with the knowledge and skills required for successful tertiary study.

Course delivery is on campus and allows you to attend at selected TAFE campuses.

Visit TAFE Queensland Brisbane or call 13 72 48 for more information.

QTAC alternative entry

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) provides an option for alternative entry to tertiary study for some people who have not completed Year 12 or do not have formal academic qualifications. To check your eligibility, visit QTAC or call 1300 467 822.

Contact List

Distance education

Distance education services are provided at seven state schools of distance education. As these schools offer different programs, please check their websites or contact them directly to determine if their program will meet your needs.
Website: https://education.qld.gov.au/schools-educators/distant-education

Mature age state schools

There are ten mature age state schools across Queensland. Please check their websites or contact them directly to determine if their program will meet your needs.

Website: https://education.qld.gov.au/careers/pathways/adult-learners/completing-high-school-education

Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre

You may be eligible to apply for alternative entry to tertiary study.
Phone: 1300 467 822
Website: www.qtac.edu.au

TAFE Queensland

Study with the largest, most experienced provider of vocational education and training in Queensland.
Phone: 1300 308 233
Website: www.tafeqld.edu.au  


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Last reviewed 11 June 2020
Last updated 11 June 2020