OPEC College

How To Get Recognition Of Prior Learning

Thinking about studying something new or upskilling to advance your career? Before you dive right in and enrol, you should first consider Recognition of Prior Learning. 

Have you worked in other roles previously, or had unpaid experience that has equipped you with a range of skills? It’s likely that you already have knowledge and skills that can fast track your qualification. 

If you’re unsure about the meaning of RPL or how to get a Recognition of Prior Learning, read on for more information. 

What does prior learning mean? 

Prior learning refers to the skills and knowledge you have picked up in your previous work or life experiences. The skills you gain in past jobs and other activities like volunteering or unpaid work can directly translate into formal competencies.

Using your prior learning is a smart way to get you a step ahead when pursuing a new qualification or transitioning into a different career. All the things you learn along the way are not wasted, they can actually reduce the time it takes you to get your qualification – in fact, you may not need to study at all.

How does RPL work?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) takes the skills and knowledge you already have and formalises them so that they can go towards completing a qualification. If the skills you have already meet some (or all) of the assessment criteria for the course, then there is no point in studying things you already know. This means that all your past hard work is recognised and you can fast track your study. 

It’s up to individual registered training organisations (RTOs) to assess whether your experience meets the requirements of the course, and they do this by assessing the evidence you can provide to support your prior learning. 

They will assess your skills against industry standards, and may ask you to provide evidence such as:

  • Performing certain tasks or jobs.
  • Answering questions regarding your past jobs and the work you did.
  • Providing samples or evidence of your work, such as resumes and certificates.
  • Providing job descriptions, references or performance appraisals.

Using this evidence, they will assess your skill level and knowledge and match it against your desired qualification.

Are RPL and credit transfer the same thing?

RPL and credit transfer are not the same thing, but both can be used to help you achieve qualifications sooner. RPL uses your existing skills and experience and translates these into formal competencies. Credit transfer uses units of study that you have completed elsewhere and transfers these to your current qualification. However, at OPEC College we can apply those units against any study or RPL application you make with us, free of charge, to reduce the amount of evidence you need to supply or the study you need to complete.

How to get Recognition of Prior Learning for your qualification

The first step is to think about the skills and knowledge you already have and consider the possible qualifications that would suit you. Say you have experience working in an office, this could assist you in completing a certificate in business administration. Or perhaps you held a leadership role as a volunteer, this could help you achieve a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management.

The next step is to approach your desired RTO and enquire about their RPL assessment process. You can learn more about our RPL process here. 

They will assess if your prior knowledge is enough to receive a full qualification, or advise you on the study you can undertake to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. It’s not the end of the world if there is a deficiency in your skill level, OPEC College can help by providing training in the relevant qualification.

If you want to learn more about the range of courses on offer at OPEC College, take a look at Our Courses page

OPEC College are trusted providers of RPL in Australia, with a process designed to be simple, straightforward and successful. We also specialise in helping first responders and military personnel seeking to gain qualifications to aid their transition into an alternate career.

Talk to our friendly team today here to find out more about RPL and begin your free, obligation free assessment. 



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