4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2017-18  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2019   
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This topic refers to the highest level of school completed, the completion of non-school qualifications and current study.

Non-school qualifications are awarded for education attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications.

Current study refers to the respondent being enrolled and has commenced study at a school or other educational institution.


Information was collected for all persons aged 15 years and over.


Educational attainment and Main field of highest non-school qualification were classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat no. 1272.0). Overseas qualifications are included even if not accredited or recognised in Australia.

Highest year of school completed

For years up to and including Year 11, the term 'completed' means to attend for the full school year such that progression to the following year of school is enabled. For Year 12, 'completed' requires only attendance for the full year.

Output categories are:

    • Year 12 or equivalent
    • Year 11 or equivalent
    • Year 10 or equivalent
    • Year 9 or equivalent
    • Year 8 or below
    • Never attended school.

'Year 12 or equivalent' includes:
    • Year 13
    • Year 12 undertaken at Technical or Further Educational Institution (including TAFE Colleges).

Highest non-school educational attainment

Respondents were asked if they had completed a trade certificate, diploma, degree or any other educational qualification. Those who had were asked to provide details of the highest qualification they had completed, including level and main field of study.

Output categories for level of highest non-school qualification are:
    • Postgraduate Degree
    • Graduate Diploma / Graduate Certificate
    • Bachelor Degree
    • Advanced Diploma / Diploma
    • Certificate III/IV
    • Certificate I/II
    • Certificate not further defined
    • No non-school qualification
    • Level not determined.

Output categories for main field of highest non-school qualification are:
    • Natural and physical sciences
    • Information technology
    • Engineering and related technologies
    • Architecture and building
    • Agriculture, environmental and related studies
    • Health
    • Education
    • Management and commerce
    • Society and culture
    • Creative arts
    • Food, hospitality and personal services
    • Mixed field programmes
    • Inadequately described
    • No non-school qualification.

A more detailed classification is also available for main field of highest non-school qualification.

Level of highest educational attainment

Output categories for level of highest educational attainment are:
    • Postgraduate Degree
    • Graduate Diploma / Graduate Certificate
    • Bachelor Degree
    • Advanced Diploma / Diploma
    • Certificate III/IV
    • Year 12
    • Year 11
    • Year 10
    • Certificate I/II
    • Year 9 or below
    • Certificate not further defined
    • Level not determined
    • Never attended school and no non-school qualification

For more information about the derivation of this item see Education Variables, June 2014 (cat. no. 1246.0),

Current study

Respondents were asked whether they were currently taking any course of study for a trade certificate, diploma, degree or any other educational qualification.

Those who were currently studying for an educational qualification were then asked:
    • What type of institution they were currently enrolled at:
      • Secondary school
      • University / Other higher education institute
      • TAFE / Technical college
      • Business college
      • Industry skills centre
      • Other.
    • The level and main field of study for that qualification (Qualification and fields of study are the same as those listed above other than the addition of a category for those students who are secondary school students only.)
    • Whether they were studying full-time or part-time. (The status of these items is determined by the way the respondent's enrolment is classified by the educational institution they are attending; if uncertain, the respondent's reported status was recorded. Apprentices who attend one day per week or on block release were classified as in part-time study.)
Current study excludes respondents who:
    • Have enrolled but not yet commenced study
    • Are undertaking adult education courses, hobby courses, recreational TAFE courses, YMCA/YWCA courses and other similar courses.

Data items

The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf / Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
    • Persons aged 15-19 years who identified they were not studying for a qualification but were reported as attending secondary school full-time, are included as currently studying. If a 15-19 year old was identified as undertaking both full-time secondary school studies as well as some other qualification, the other qualification took precedence over the responses, including cases where the qualification study was part-time.
    • Respondents reporting current study were required to be enrolled and currently participating in the course.

Comparability with 2014-15

Data is comparable with 2014-15 NHS.

More information regarding comparisons between 2014-15 NHS and previous cycles is available in the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4363.0).