What is a Professional Year Program?
A professional year program is a 12-month program offered by certain institutions, that serves to bridge the gap between a full-time academic engagement and professional employment. These programs intend to give international students, who have graduated from Australian graduate and postgraduate institutions, the practical job skills and vocational training needed to augment their career prospects and ensure a seamless transition into a professional work culture. It essentially makes sure that prospective entrants into the work-force are wholly prepared and job-ready.
Why Do a Professional Year Program?
Aside from the points mentioned above, there are also plenty of other reasons to apply for a Professional Year Program:
- Most Professional Year Programs include a 12 week-long structured internship program in an Australian company. These are often integrated with industry employment programs, resulting in the student receiving valuable work experience.
- It gets you a Professional Year certificate on completion of the course, which is a great addition to your CV or resume.
- It adds immense value for students with IT (Information Technology), Engineering, and Accounting degrees.
- It helps develop professional communication skills, practical experience, and intricate knowledge of the Australian workplace and culture.
- Completion of a government-backed Professional Year Program makes you eligible to receive 5 points on an eligible skilled occupation, as specified by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). This is part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) ‘points test’ when applying for a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa.
Requirements for a Professional Year Program
- The candidate should have completed at least 2 years of education in an Australian university or institute. The most common requirements are an accounting, engineering, or IT graduation degree from Australia. Both graduate and postgraduate degrees are accepted as long as they satisfy the 2-year minimum requirement.
- The candidate must hold a skilled graduate temporary visa (Subclass 485) that has at least 12 months of validity remaining. This visa lets you stay in Australia post-degree completion for a period of 18 months. Candidates are advised that a student visa will not be accepted for a Professional Year Program.
(Note: Engineering graduates who completed their degrees in recognized institutions outside of Australia are also eligible to complete a Professional Year Program in engineering, without having the need to specifically get a part of their education in an Australian institution. These students must apply for a Skilled-Recognized Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 476).
- The candidate must be below 50 years of age.
- The candidate must have a valid passport.
- The candidate must display the minimum skills and qualifications needed as per the Skilled Occupation List.
- In case the candidate’s first language is not English, they must demonstrate proficiency in the language through their scores in language proficiency tests. A minimum overall band score of 6 is required in the IELTS, with the candidate not scoring less than a 6 band in any part of the test.
Which Programs Should I Apply In?
Although several institutions offer their own variations of Professional Year Programs, it is recommended that students focus most of their efforts on institutions and courses which are authorized by the government of Australia. This is also important if one is to receive the 5 points to apply for the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa. The following Professional Year Programs are recognized and certified by the Australian Government:
- For Accounting Graduates:
- CPA Australia Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting (SMIPA)
- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting
- Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting
- For IT Graduates:
- The Australian Computer Society Professional Year Program
- For Engineering Graduates:
- Engineers Australia Professional Year Program
Additional Information About Some Relevant Programs and Institutions
- Engineering Education Australia: As an international graduate, completing the Professional Year course will prepare you for a job in engineering. The Professional Year is a pathway into the engineering profession. This course will allow you to develop your professional network and show your employers that you understand engineering work in Australia.
The course is divided into two parts: 32 weeks will be dedicated to face-to-face interactions in the classroom and 12 weeks of internship “with an Australian engineering company in a role that matches your engineering discipline or area of practice”.
For application, do the following: Download the application from their website. Submit your full application, including all certified documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. If chosen, you will receive an application acknowledgment letter. Your chosen provider will contact you to arrange an interview time, they will also confirm the class location and start time.
- The Australian Computer Society Professional Year Program: This course can last a period that stretches from 44 weeks to a maximum of 52 weeks. The orientation is week-long and will be delivered online by ACS. The main part of the course, which is Communication and Performance in the Australian Workplace which lasts 32 weeks (250 hours), which will be delivered by an accredited provider. The (unpaid) internship period lasts 10 weeks (minimum 220 hours).
Additionally, this course also provides an online course called Professional Environments, which lasts 13 weeks and is also delivered by ACS. This part focuses on group discussions with peers and alumni, under the tutelage of a guide and mentor.
Fees and Payments
The fee for a One Year Professional Course will largely depend on the course provider you choose to apply with. These providers offer the programs mentioned above and are accredited institutions. The tuition costs of providers will vary with the nature of the course and program under which it is accredited. But most of the time this will end up around AUD $5,000-15,000.
- Performance Education offers a One Year Professional Course in IT for AUD $10,750. The equivalent course in accounting costs a total of AUD $5,800.
- Navitas, another accredited institution, offers its IT and engineering courses for AUD $15,000 and accounting courses for AUD $6,000-$13,000.
- Monash Professional Pathways offers its IT course for around AUD $13,000, engineering course for AUD$ 15,000, and accounting course for AUD $6,000-$13,000.