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A GUIDE TO GOVERNMENT FUNDED TEACHER'S AIDE COURSES

A Guide to Government Funded Teacher’s Aide Courses

starting a teacher aide qualification

We get asked about government funded teacher’s aide courses probably 30-50 times per day. There are some myths around government funding such as the fact that funding doesn’t always mean the course is cheaper. We did the research for you and looked at the government funding currently available in Australia.


Obviously, a disclaimer is needed here: this information may change and there are lots of rules and regulations that we don’t have time to discuss here. Speak to your provider for the most accurate information relevant to your situation. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information – use this article as the beginning point for your own research.


Are all teacher’s aide courses funded?

Teacher’s aide courses include the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support and the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support. These are the two main courses that students in Australia study in order to become a teacher’s aide. These are the two courses we will concentrate on in this article.

  • Government funding is available in Queensland and can be accessed at FTTA.
  • Government funding is available in Victoria to an extent. We say ‘extent’ as your choices are very limited, and the total cost of your course is potentially higher than enrolling in a non funded course (even with so-called ‘free courses’).
  • There is a small amount of TAFE funding in NSW however the standard government funded fee is about the same as FTTA's non-funded standard fee.
  • There is no funding in WA and SA and where funding may be available to some students via TAFE, the course fee is often significantly higher than the standard, non-funded fee.

Is free really free? Why cheap courses can be really expensive.

online study for integration aides

Choose your provider carefully – cheap providers can be more expensive in the long run. Ensure you enrol with a provider that offer support such as visiting you during your placement.


When you buy a car – do you buy the cheapest possible car you can find? The $200 rust-bucket? A course is no different. It is important to think carefully about what the course will cost you from start to finish and beyond, and not just the 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.


You also need to ask questions such as:

  • Does the provider have a good reputation?
  • Can you call and speak with your trainer, organise a meeting, go to a tutorial etc.? These things are really important.
  • Does the provider visit you in the workplace during your placement – this is VERY important. You need guidance, support and help especially if there are issues. You also need the trainer to provide advice for your professional development
  • Do you feel comfortable with your provider? What happens if something goes wrong like you are ill or need help with an assessment? Can you talk to them easily?
  • Ensure your provider clusters assessments as this saves you a heap of time and the annoyance of having to do every unit separately – there is a huge overlap between units so you will find yourself doing the same assessment over and over.
  • Ensure that your provider has an office in Australia!
  • Ensure that your provider does NOT employ contract staff – this more often than not, reduces the quality of support because trainers are paid per phone call/email or per assessment. You need a trainer that is employed full time or part time by the RTO.
  • Do not enrol with an RTO that ‘partners’ or has ‘third-party agreements’ or arrangements with other providers. You can be hand-balled around and quite often the arrangement is just for marketing purposes – meaning 20-40% of your course fee is to pay for what is basically a referral or brokerage fee.
  • Ensure that you can meet your trainers face to face – some RTOs only provide email support. This will cause issues, delay your course completion and be very frustrating.

What does government funding mean exactly?

Sometimes governments decide that a particular occupation doesn’t have enough employees or that the industry will be short of employees in the future. This is called a skills shortage. In WA for example, a special department develops the SPOL (State Priority Occupation List) which specifies which occupations that the government is expecting or experiencing a shortage of trained employees. One way that governments can encourage more people to enrol in courses relevant to those occupations is to make the courses cheaper. Economics 101 tells us that if the course is cheap, more people will enrol. This incentivises people to enrol in some courses and not others. *


When you enrol in a course, the provider will charge a fee. This is often called the course fee. The course fee is required for obvious reasons – providers, whether public or private, must pay things like trainers, insurance, electricity and marketing. When a course is government funded, it means the government pays for all or part of the fee. Normally the government pays the provider as students complete each unit.


Who is eligible for government funding?

working as a teacher assistant in a classroom

Student at FTTA in class (WA Perth)


Broadly speaking and in most states, if funding is available, you will need to reside in that state and be an Australian Citizen or permanent resident. Other criteria and eligibility rules are set by each government and the provider. It is best to speak to your preferred provider for specific details relevant to you.


Are there government funded teacher’s aide courses in Western Australia?

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). The current cost to study the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support in WA with a TAFE provider is $3,461.60 for a standard enrolment - additional fees apply for international students.


Are there government funded teacher’s aide courses in South Australia?

There is no funding available in SA for private providers at the time of writing (unless you count TAFE). The current cost to enrol in the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support with a TAFE in SA is $4,208 for a full fee (standard) enrolment. This does not include other costs such as clearances.


Are there government funded teacher’s aide courses in Queensland?

FTTA have been offering government subsidised places in Queensland for several years. The current cost for a funded course in QLD is $25 for concession and $50 for non-concession with FTTA. 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 several 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 as a citizen, temporary or permanent resident, and not have completed the same level qualification or higher (if you have previously done a cert 3, you will not be able to enrol in a cert 3 funded). Again, this information is very broad and general – speak to your provider for specifics.


Are there government funded teacher’s aide courses in New South wales?

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 CHC30213 Certificate III in 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.


Are there government funded teacher’s aide courses in Victoria?

The full fee cost to enrol in the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support in Victoria with TAFE is $6241.00. The ‘government subsidised’ fee is $2608.00 according to holmesglen.edu.au. Other programs may be available – check with your provider.


Summary

If you are living in QLD, you can choose your preferred provider for either of the teacher’s aide courses. If you are in WA and SA funding is not available. If you are in NSW, funding is available at some TAFEs, but the price is not significantly discounted. It is also important to consider the true cost of enrolling in a course such as the quality of the provider, if the provider suits your needs, offers adequate support such as workplace visits and face to face tutorials, and if you feel comfortable dealing with them for the next 6-12 months. Government funding may mean cheaper courses in some instance however it should not be your only consideration.


About the author

Adam Green is a former teacher, member of the government’s Education Support Industry Advisory Group, MD at FTTA, and a post-graduate researcher at Murdoch university.


Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is general, may not be relevant to you, is not legal advice and no guarantee of accuracy is provided. Users should seek expert advice before relying on any information provided in this article.

*In some states, funding is provided exclusively to TAFEs due to unionised pressure on governments to prop up declining TAFE enrolment at the expense of student choice. When this happens, bureaucrats and politicians determine where students study – not the student, who can no longer choose the best provider that meets their needs.


Regardless of this politically motivated policy, students continue to enrol with private providers in droves even when they have to pay more. TAFE enrol only 27% of total students (NCVER, Total VET subject enrolments 2017). 76% of full fee-paying students enrol with private RTOs.


This has unfortunately meant that people on the lowest income pay higher fees and don't recieve any funding assistance. Worse still, in some instances such as in WA, students are required to be in class for long periods of time (hundreds of hours). This archaic policy is discriminatory against women and particularly mothers, low income earners and single parents who can’t afford 12 months of child care and lost income in order to recieve government assistance. This policy advantages wealthy families.

OUR TEACHER'S AIDE COURSES

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