Difference Between Certificate III, Certificate IV & Diploma

Published On: 9 August 2023Categories: Training

What’s the difference between Certificate III, Certificate IV and Diploma?

In the rapidly changing world of career development, understanding the distinctions between Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma courses becomes crucial.

The thing is that these aren't just certificates — they're stepping stones that can elevate your career to unimaginable heights.

Each course is a different qualification level on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

They can be the key to unlocking doors to better employment opportunities, shaping your career trajectory, and making your mark in a growing industry like aged and disability care.

Adult learners sharing knowledge and offering support in a classroom, working collaboratively on laptops to unpack the difference between Certificate III and Certificate IV.

So, what exactly sets Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma courses apart?

We’ll look at each of these certifications in detail and illuminate the path to your professional success.

Learn more about our Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma courses on the Training Program page.


What is Certificate III?

Certificate III is a course designed to help individuals progress from entry-level roles and apply the knowledge they've learned to skilled work.


We currently have two courses on offer:

Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)

Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)


What is a Certificate III equivalent to?

A Certificate III is a level 3 qualification under the AQF that indicates skills and knowledge in a particular vocational field.

It’s considered equivalent to the completion of high school or Year 12 and is recognised nationwide.


What is Certificate IV?

A Certificate IV in Australia is a qualification that's taught through Vocational Education and Training (VET). It is located at Level 4 of the AQF and designed for individuals aiming to move into supervisory and management positions within their field of study.

This certification helps them develop a broad range of competencies needed for these roles.

At Carers Queensland we offer a Certificate IV in Community Services for individuals looking to advance their career in the community service sector.


Difference between Certificate III and Certificate IV

Certificate III and Certificate IV serve different purposes for students depending on their career goals and the level of understanding they wish to achieve in a given field.

While Certificate III lays the foundation with fundamental skills and knowledge, Certificate IV builds upon this foundation, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

Think of Certificate III as an entry-level qualification, more suitable for someone starting a career, and Certificate IV as a more advanced qualification that can help move forward in your existing career.

The choice between the two courses depends on your career ambitions, the depth of knowledge you wish to acquire, and the specific requirements of your chosen industry.


Do you have to do Certificate III before Certificate IV?

It’s not always necessary to complete Certificate III before moving on to Certificate IV.

This can vary depending on your chosen field of study or training program.

Other available options include Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfers.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is about the skills and knowledge you've gained through work and life experiences. If you already have the knowledge, your skills will be assessed against industry standards.

A credit transfer recognises the study you've already done at school, college, TAFE, or university. You can have credit from a relevant earlier course transferred to your current studies.


What is a Diploma?

A Diploma is a nationally recognised educational qualification located at Level 5 of the AQF. This means that it's a step above Certificate IV (Level 4) and a step below an Advanced Diploma (Level 6).

Studying a diploma equips you with specialised knowledge and skills in a specified field or profession. For example, our Diploma of Community Services prepares students for supervisory or management roles in community service-focused organisations.

In essence, a Diploma serves as a valuable credential that can help you jumpstart or progress in your career path or serve as a stepping stone towards higher education.


Diploma vs Certificate IV

The key difference between a Diploma and a Certificate IV lies in the level of depth and complexity of the skills and knowledge they provide, as well as the length of study.

A Certificate IV is often considered equivalent to six to twelve months of degree study, whereas Diplomas typically take one to two years to complete.


Which Course is Right for You?

Carers Queensland’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) provides flexible training options that fit your busy schedule.

Whether you want to upskill or change careers, our quality content and experienced trainers will guide you through a certificate, diploma or short course.

For further information, please inquire now online and someone from our training team will contact you.


Are you interested in studying with us?

Connecting with us is easy, call 1300 626 636, email training@carersqld.com.au, or complete the contact form below and we will be in touch soon.




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