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5 free TAFE courses to help you decide if a science career is for you

With fee-free TAFE continuing into 2024, you can try science before committing to a degree

TAFEs around Australia have been given government funding for hundreds of qualifications from certificates to diplomas, all on offer at no cost for priority groups and sectors, including those where science matters. 

A TAFE qualification could help you transition from school to uni, or it could get you the entry-level position you need to kickstart your dream career in science. 

Science is a diverse area and there are many hands-on vocations that you can work in with just a certificate-level qualification. Or, you could choose vocational education and training (VET) as a stepping stone to a Bachelor of Science.

Here are five learning areas with free courses currently on offer.

1. Learn to work in a lab

One way to work out if working in a lab is your thing via a Certificate III or IV in Laboratory Skills, offered for free at TAFEs around Australia. Here you’ll learn important scientific skills such as how to plan and conduct laboratory and field work, perform simple scientific calculations, present information, and record and store data. 

Once qualified, you could gain a job as a laboratory assistant or technician in industries like mining, food technology, or in the health sector. 

2. Train to be an enrolled nurse

Australia has a shortage of nurses, which is why a Diploma of Nursing is offered as part of fee-free TAFE. The Diploma course is the minimum requirement to work as an enrolled nurse – which is a nurse that typically works under the supervision of a registered nurse.

In the Diploma of Nursing course you’ll learn how to perform clinical assessments, contribute to nursing care of people with complex needs, and administer and monitor medications and IV therapy. 

3. Understand the basics of food science

If you’re interested in healthy eating and nutrition, a course in nutrition and dietetics could be a stepping stone to a Bachelor of Nutrition Science, where you could go on to become a qualified dietitian or work with other scientists in healthy food production.

Look for the Certificate III or IV in Allied Health Assistance (Nutrition and Dietetics) at a TAFE near you.

4. Kick off a career in conservation

If you’re passionate about the environment and interested in studying conservation, a Certificate in Conservation and Ecosystem Management could be a stepping stone to a degree in conservation biology. Conservation biologists often work as park rangers or in the increasing number of roles helping the planet adapt to climate change.

5. Train to be a vet nurse

If you love animals, but becoming a vet is beyond your reach, then this fee-free TAFE opportunity is for you! 

The Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing will see you learning how to carry out surgical nursing and dental procedures, along with preparing and monitoring anaesthesia and analgesics in animals.

More options

If none of these take your fancy, you can check out every free TAFE course around Australia. Found your ideal course but it isn’t free? Search ‘TAFE’ and ‘scholarships’.

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