The decision to study for an Australian certificate, diploma, or a degree depends on what field you want to work in, and your career goals. All accredited courses in Australia fall under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The framework is managed nationally by the Australian government's Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Territory Education. There are 10 levels of qualifications in the Australian framework. Level 10 is the highest level. See the qualifications now.
Post-secondary education streams
In Australia, there are two main streams of post-secondary education - Vocational Education and Training (VET) and University. In the past, there was a very clear distinction between vocational training programs and university courses. However, there is now an overlap between the two.
In order to make the VET courses and university programs more compatible, there is now a process called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs tend to be shorter and more practical (hands-on), award a certificate or diploma, and are delivered by a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college, or a Registered Training Organisation.
University programs, on the other hand, are longer, tend to be more theory based, and are delivered by a University.
Good news...it may possible to have your past studies and work experience count towards competencies in the program you are planning to take. Learn about Recognition of Prior Learning