Government funded teacher aide courses are available in some states such as Queensland where students can enrol from $25 (concession) and $100 (standard). Other states offer subsidised courses to an extent however they are often more expensive than non-subsidsed courses and come with stringent requirements such as not being able to choose your preferred provider and having to attend classes for a extended period of time.
Government funded teacher aide courses are available in some states of Australia - but are they really worth it? Are they actually cheap or do you end up paying more? In this article we take a look at the government funded options available to you in WA, QLD, NSW, SA, and Victoria.
We get asked about government funded teacher’s aide courses many times each day. Students want to get the best deal and many simply cannot afford the cost of enrolling a fee for service course.
There is a plethora of government programs each with their own rules and requirements that are usually confusing, complex and sometimes impossible to make sense of. We did the research and found that in many cases, government funded courses are actually more expensive than fee for service courses (fee for service or FFS means the student pays 100% of the cost and there is no help from the government).
To help you wade through the details and to save you the time and the stress of learning about what you may or may not be eligible for, we did the research and put together this general guide to get you started.
Obviously, a disclaimer is needed here: this information may change and become outdated. Many government programs have rules, policies, and requirements that we cannot possibly cover in a single article. This information is general in nature, not intended as legal or financial advice, and we advise speaking with your preferred provider for accurate information.
If you are thinking about becoming a teacher aide in Australia, please also read this article: How to become a teacher aide
Teacher aide courses include the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. These are the two main courses that students in Australia study in order to become a teacher aide. Below is a quick summary of the government funding available in Australia for the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support:
Governments may determine that a certain industry is likely to be short on staff in the future (or currently like childcare and aged care). This is often the case in trades and other niche areas as well as lower paid industries such as childcare and aged care.
One thing that governments can do to encourage people to enrol in these courses is to make the courses cheaper. Economics 101 tells us that as a course becomes cheaper, the more people that will enrol. This is why governments offer government funding for some courses such as the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support in Queensland.
Government funding does not mean however, that the course is the cheapest or the best value. In some instances, it means the government pays for some or all of the course. In most cases however such as in WA and NSW, government funded courses are party paid for by the student and party paid for by the government. Added costs such as textbooks may also apply and need to be added up beforehand.
Finally, our research showed that it is often the case that some cheaper funded courses cost more because of lost earnings. Students are often required to be in class for up to a year as opposed to more 'expensive' courses that can be completed in half that time particularly with adult learners who have experience caring for children).
Broadly speaking, if funding is available for your preferred course, you will first and foremost need to live in that state and be an Australian Citizen or permanent resident. Some other visa holders may be eligible such as New Zealand Citizens, dependants, and humanitarian refugees.
Other criteria and eligibility rules are set by each state or territory government as well as each individual training provider. For example, in some states you may not be eligible for government funding if you have completed a VET course in the past which is at the same or higher level.
It is best to speak to your preferred provider for accurate details relevant to you and your situation.
There are no government funded teacher’s aide courses available in WA at the time of writing (unless you count TAFE which is rather expensive even with funding). It is much cheaper to enrol in your preferred provider even if you end up paying the full fee for service (FFS) fee. The current cost to study the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support in WA with a TAFE provider is $3,461.60 for a standard enrolment. The cost for international students is much higher. This fee does not include books, clearances, and other costs.
There are no government funded teacher’s aide courses available in SA at the time of writing (unless you count TAFE SA which is rather expensive even with funding). It is much cheaper to enrol and pay the full fee for service (FFS) fee in SA. The current cost to study the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support with TAFE SA provider is $4,208 for a standard enrolment. The cost for international students is much higher. This fee does not include books, clearances, and other costs.
ITAC have been offering government subsidised places in Queensland for many years. The current cost for a funded course in QLD is $50 for concession and $100 for non-concession with ITAC. If you are considering a TAFE enrolment, the cost is $3,400 for full fee-paying students, $300-600 for subsidised (standard) fee, $300-405 for concession.
Note that there are requirement and rules in Queensland regarding eligibility – it is best to speak with your preferred provider for information relevant to your situation. In general, however, you will need to be living in Queensland and be an Australian citizen, temporary or permanent resident, and not have completed the same level qualification or higher. Again, this information is general – speak to your provider for specifics about your situation and the most recent entry requirements.
There is some funding for private and public providers available in New South Wales for teacher’s aide courses. However, almost all funding has been allocated to the TAFE colleges effectively meaning there is no government funded places available for students who wish to enrol with a private provider in any teacher’s aide courses.
In NSW the cost to enrol in the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support at TAFE NSW is $6,990.00 for a standard non-subsidised fee, and $1690 for standard subsidised enrolment plus additional resources and other costs. You must be living or working in NSW to be eligible for this reduced fee.
In other words, the cost of a government funded teacher aide courses in NSW is comparable to non-funded fees such as those provided by ITAC (particularly for the combo course which is much cheaper per qualification than government funding).
The full fee cost to enrol in the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support in Victoria with TAFE is $6241.00. The course cost of the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is $7,334.00 at Victorian TAFEs. A small number of places are available under the Free TAFE Fees program for eligible applicants however places are normally only available early in the year to a small number of select students (by Feb 2020 no places were available under this program according to their website).
When you buy a car – do you buy the cheapest possible car that you can find? The $200 rust-bucket? Probably not. Investing in your own education is no different. It is important to think carefully about what the course will cost you from start to finish and beyond - not just the initial course fee. Think of your course as an investment with an expected return – if you invest poorly, you could lose money in the long run.
Saving $500-$1000 on a course does not seem like as much of a bargain when you forgo 3 months of work (around $12,000) because your course took longer to complete due to a lack of support. Schools are also aware of which providers produce quality graduates which impacts your employability and the time it takes to find work.
There are three issues to consider broadly speaking:
To prevent these issues, we recommend asking your potential provider the following questions:
Government funding is hit and miss for teacher aide courses – in some states such as Queensland, government funding can be great value for money. In other states, the cost of government funded courses is about the same or more than as non-funded courses. A more important consideration however, is whether the provider you enrol with has sufficient expertise, support, and a good reputation so you enjoy a positive training experience, finish in a reasonable amount of time, and learn the necessary skills to perform well in your placement so you are in the running for any positions that pop up.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
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