What is the Meaning of RPL?

rpl meaning

What is the Meaning of RPL?

You might have heard the term thrown around. Usually when someone is talking about bypassing the higher education system in their career progression.

But you might find yourself asking the following questions:

  • What is the meaning of RPL?
  • What does RPL stand for?
  • How does RPL work?

Don’t worry we’re going to cover all of this and more in the article below.

What is the meaning of RPL?

RPL is an acronym used in higher education for Recognised Prior Learning.  It refers to the process of applying previous study, work experience and life experience against the competencies and requirements of a qualification.

Usually, to achieve a qualification you would complete study but with RPL you can bypass that and show evidence that you’ve gained the same knowledge and skills through experience.

To boil it down, RPL means using evidence of your ‘learned on the job’ skills to get a qualification.

The Australian Qualification framework is the national policy for the regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. The Australian Qualification framework defines RPL as, “An assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.”

We believe that experience is valuable and that’s why we offer a broad range of our qualifications through the RPL pathway.

The great thing about RPL is this pathway acknowledges that people learn and gain skills from other avenues than just accredited training including non-accredited training, employment across a range of industries, as well as through volunteer work, social and recreational activities.

What kind of qualifications can be awarded through RPL?

There are some qualification such as practical security qualifications and first aid certifications, which cannot be awarded through RPL. However, there are many different qualifications that you can apply for through the RPL process.

Some of the areas of study you can apply for through RPL are marketing qualifications, business, administration, quality auditing, workplace health and safety, human resources, small business, project management, leadership and management and customer engagement.

Why do people chose RPL?

People go through the RPL process for many different reasons. If you already know how to do something there is not much point in studying it, but sometimes it’s nice to have the piece of paper and have acknowledgment of your abilities.

It’s cheaper

RPL is perfect for people who have gotten out into the world and learnt on their feet. It’s also generally cheaper than completing a qualification through full study sometimes by as much as half the cost of the full study qualification.

It’s quicker

Completing a certificate or diploma through full study can take between 6 months and two years depending on the full study program and the type of qualification.

Being assessed for RPL and filling in the paperwork can take just a few days or up to three months depending on what evidence you already have access to, what you have to provide and how long it takes you to put it all together and provide it to the RPL assessor.

How does the RPL process work?

The RPL process is going to be slightly different with each institution. But basically, an assessor will get you to complete an initial application and then based on this, the experience you have, the qualification you want and the evidence you can provide they will advise whether you are a good candidate for RPL. At ASSET, this process begins with a free skills assessment.

What’s a Free Skills Assessment?

A Free Skills Assessment is a quick online application where you upload your resume, all relevant previous experience and anything else that might help our assessor to determine your eligibility for the RPL process along with the elected qualification you would like to go for.

It only takes a few minutes to fill in and be done all online. Just make sure you have your most recent resume ready to upload. You can check out the Free Skills Assessment form here.

What’s next

If you go through the free skills assessment and our assessor deems you to be a good candidate for RPL, our assessor will email you with a breakdown of the process from there. If you want to go through with the RPL enrolment you’ll have to fill in your enrolment paperwork and pay a 50% deposit for your RPL course fee.

Once this has been paid, you’ll begin the process. Your assessor will then provide you with a mapping guide to help you in collection of your evidence against the performance criteria of each unit.

Once you’ve put in all your evidence, your RPL assessor will review and map the evidence against the unit competencies within the qualification. You’ll need to provide relevant, recent, genuine and sufficient evidence against all elements of the qualification to be deemed competent.

What happens if you don’t have enough evidence?

Once you have put in all evidence, if the assessor comes back and lets you know you are not quite meeting the requirements for some of the unit competencies don’t worry, there is an option for you.

Rather than studying the whole qualification from scratch the assessor will be able to deem you competent for the unit competencies you reached and you will only have to complete study for the units you did not have sufficient evidence for.


Once all of this is done and the process is completed, you will be awarded your qualification. It can take between 10 and 14 business days for your certificate to make it out to you.

If you would like to know more about the RPL process you can read even more about it here. If you think you might be eligible for RPL for a particular qualification right now, you can find out by filling in our Free Skill Assessment.

Or if you want to have a chat with someone about the RPL process and discuss your options, you can get in touch with one of our friendly course advisors.

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