Credit Transfer: Cracking the Code for RTOs Leave a comment

As the admission season has officially begun student application forms, enrolments and other administrative tasks will pile up. Amidst this hectic process there is one solution that can potentially solve your worries and simultaneously make your student’s lives easier.

The solution is Credit Transfer.

But if you are not sure what is credit transfer and the aspects of it then we will help you.

In this blog we will explain

  • What is credit transfer?
  • Difference between credit transfer and RPL
  • Process of Credit Transfer
  • ASQA’s take on credit transfer

Let’s begin!

What is Credit Transfer?

Credit transfer allows you, the RTO, to recognise and apply previous learning from another RTO or training provider towards a qualification offered by your organisation.

This means students who have already mastered relevant skills or knowledge through prior training can skip those parts of your program, focusing on new material and potentially finishing their qualification faster.

Sounds much like RPL? But it is nothing like RPL. Let’s look at the differences to help you understand.

Difference Between Credit Transfer and RPL

Credit Transfer

  • Focuses on formal learning: Credits earned from previously completed courses or qualifications at another RTO or training provider.
  • Administrative process: Typically involves comparing official transcripts and course descriptions to ensure equivalent content and learning outcomes.
  • Examples: Transferring completed units from a Certificate IV Business to a Diploma of Business at a different RTO.


  • Focuses on informal and experiential learning: Recognises skills and knowledge gained through work experience, volunteer work, or other life experiences.
  • Assessment process: Requires demonstrating competency through various methods like portfolios, simulations, interviews, or written tests.
  • Examples: Recognising a cook’s culinary skills gained through years of restaurant experience towards a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.

Here’s a table summarising the key differences:

Table: Difference Between Credit Transfer and RPL

Type of learning Formal Formal, Informal and experiential
Evidence required Official transcripts, course descriptions Portfolios, simulations, interviews, tests
Assessment Administrative comparison Competency-based assessment
Example Transferring completed units Recognising work experience for credit

As you now know it is an entirely different process requiring different so is it even beneficial for RTOs to provide credit transfer? Yes, absolutely.

Benefits of Credit Transfer

  • Attract new students: Offer faster completion times and cost savings for learners with prior learning, expanding your potential student pool.
  • Improve enrolment rates: Streamline the intake process and reduce administrative burden, leading to a smoother transition for new students.
  • Boost retention rates: Reduce frustration and dropout by acknowledging existing knowledge, keeping students engaged and motivated.
  • Save time and resources: By avoiding redundant assessments, you can optimise resources for focused training and development.
  • Personalise learning pathways: Tailor qualifications to individual needs, offering more relevant and valuable training experiences.
  • Improve completion rates: Reduce overall program timeframe for some students, leading to higher efficiency and resource utilisation.
  • Recognise diverse learning: Value experience and informal learning, making qualifications more relevant to industry needs and attracting employer interest.
  • Contribute to AQF flexibility: Promote a more flexible and efficient VET system, enhancing your reputation as a forward-thinking RTO.
  • Strengthen industry partnerships: Collaborate with other training providers and organisations to establish credit transfer pathways, expanding your reach and impact.
  • Reduced administrative workload: Streamlined procedures for assessing and awarding credit can save staff time and effort.
  • Improved student satisfaction: Recognition of prior learning fosters a sense of value and appreciation, leading to happier and more satisfied students.
  • Enhanced data and information management: Efficient tracking of credit transfer records can improve accuracy and transparency in student data.

Process of Credit Transfer


To ensure fair and consistent recognition of prior learning through credit transfer, enabling learners to progress efficiently in their training.


  • Providing Information to Candidates:
  • Inform candidates about credit transfer opportunities and policies, ideally before enrolment.
  • Explain available pathways and requirements.
  • Application for Credit Transfer
  • Applicants submit:
  • Completed Credit Transfer Application Form
  • Certified copy of relevant qualification or statement of attainment
  • Enrolment application for the program seeking credit transfer
  • Assessment of Application:
  • Verify authenticity of submitted qualifications or statements of attainment.
  • Grant credit transfer for equivalent units of competency completed at other RTOs.
  • If units don’t align, consult Training Package mapping guide (if available).
  • Documentation and Recordkeeping:
  • Retain verified copies of qualifications and statements of attainment used for credit transfer in the learner’s file.
  • File signed Credit Transfer Application Form by both learner and CEO (or delegate).
  • Notification of Outcome
  • Inform learners of the decision in writing.
  • Issue statements of attainment or qualifications awarded through credit transfer, following certification policies and procedures.

Now that you know the benefits of credit transfer and the process of how you can transfer credits it is important to know what the national VET regulator ASQA’s opinion and guidelines.

When A Credit Transfer is Not Possible

Credit transfer might not be possible in a few situations:

  • Content Mismatch: If the previous courses differ significantly in content or level from your new program, they may not translate directly.
  • Accreditation Discrepancies: Credits from unaccredited institutions or those with noticeably different academic standards might not be recognised.
  • Time Warp: Some institutions have timelines for accepting transferred credits. Older courses might not qualify depending on their policy.
  • Transfer Quota: Each institution has a limit on transfer credits it accepts. Exceeding this limit could block some transfers.
  • Program Gaps: If your new program lacks matching courses for your previous work, the credits may not be applicable.

Remember, each case is unique, and credit transfer isn’t always guaranteed. Be sure to check with your new institution for their specific policies and limitations.

ASQA’s Take on Credit Transfer

Remember, as an RTO, you play a role in making Australia’s vocational training system flexible and portable. ASQA’s Clause 3.5 highlights this by emphasising nationwide recognition of qualifications and skills.

In plain terms:

  • Students shouldn’t repeat what they’ve already mastered. If they have proof of completing a unit or module elsewhere, you must grant them credit (unless specific regulations forbid it).
  • Credit applies to RTOs and other authorised institutions, like universities.
  • Non-identical units? Analyse and find equivalent units before granting credit.

Always verify: Use USI transcripts or directly contact the issuing organisation to confirm document validity before awarding credit.

Not a free pass: You can’t award a whole qualification solely based on credit transfer.

Exceptions exist: Some licensing or regulations might limit credit options.

Credit transfer vs. RPL: They’re different. Credit recognises equivalent learning outcomes, while RPL assesses actual competence.

Demonstrating Compliance:

  • Keep records of offering credit for prior studies.
  • Document cases where students were exempted from repeating units.
  • Be prepared to answer ASQA inquiries about your credit transfer practices.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your RTO complies with ASQA and contributes to a seamless VET system for students nationwide.


Credit transfer holds immense potential for both RTOs and students, offering a faster pathway to qualifications and a more efficient use of learning resources. For RTOs, it’s an opportunity to attract new students seeking swift progress, streamline programs, and stay relevant by recognising diverse learning experiences. Students, meanwhile, can benefit from shorter study times, reduced costs, and a personalised learning journey that values their prior knowledge.

However, navigating the world of credit transfer presents its own set of challenges. Ensuring fair and transparent procedures is critical, with thorough assessments and consistent application of policies crucial for upholding the integrity of qualifications. ASQA’s role in setting national standards and promoting consistent practices across RTOs is essential for minimising confusion and creating a truly seamless system.

So, whether you’re an RTO seeking to refine your approach or a student exploring faster pathways, remember, credit transfer is not just a technical process, but a bridge connecting diverse learning experiences. By staying informed, adapting to new technologies, and prioritising fairness, we can create a seamless VET system that recognises and empowers learners throughout their educational journey.

Are you looking for ways to understand credit transfer in more depth?

Then VET Resources is your partner. We offer high quality training resources. For more information and free samples contact us here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I can award credit for a student’s old unit that’s been replaced?

To see if a superseded unit qualifies for credit, check They’ll tell you if it’s:

Equivalent: Award credit! The new and old units cover the same knowledge and skills.

Not equivalent: No credit, unfortunately. The content or level differs significantly.

Can I give credit for a student’s unit that’s been deleted?

Unfortunately, no. If a unit has been completely removed from the training package, it’s no longer recognised and credit cannot be awarded. The curriculum has shifted, so the deleted unit’s content isn’t included in the current qualification pathway.

Can RTOs charge students a fee for getting credit for previously completed units?

Yes, there’s no rule stopping them. Clause 3.5 of the Standards allows RTOs to decide on credit transfer fees.

However, just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Charging fees might discourage students from using credit transfer, which ultimately goes against the spirit of recognising prior learning.

The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.

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