A guide to the VCE in Victoria

VCE in victoria. chairs in exam room.


Completing the VCE in Victoria can be overwhelming for families. Your child is studying towards their senior secondary certificate.

From 2023, changes to Victorian senior study mean students can pursue any style of learning under one VCE.

The VCE in Victoria allows students taking different pathways to be recognised equally.

What is the VCE in Victoria?

VCE is the Victorian Certificate of Education.

This is undertaken by most students in Victoria to demonstrate that they have completed secondary education.

Under the new changes, the VCE is often used to study at university, TAFE or another VET provider.

Students will have a choice between:

Standard VCE

This is appropriate for students interested in attending university straight away via an ATAR pathway.

VCE Vocational Major

The VCE Vocational Major is an option within the VCE. It is a 2 year vocational and applied learning program

The VCE Vocational Major provides a pathway for students interested in practical experience.

This is an appropriate option for students interested in entering:

  • Apprenticeships

  • Traineeships

  • Further education and training

  • University through college or other alternative entry pathways (non-ATAR)

  • Employment

Structure of the VCE Vocational Major

The VCE Vocational Major consists of a minimum 16 units.

In addition to Literacy/English and Numeracy/Mathematics units students will need to complete:

  • 2 VCE VM Work Related Skills units;

  • 2 VCE VM Personal Development Skills units;

  • 2 VET credits at Certificate II or above; and

  • 3 other VCE studies or VET studies at a year 12 level.

What qualifications does my child get from the VCE Vocational Major?

Once your child has completed the VCE Vocational Major they will receive a Victorian Certificate of Education with the additional words ‘Vocational Major’.

They will finish school with their ‘Victorian Certificate of Education – Vocational Major’.

Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC)

The VPC is also a new and flexible certificate.

It is a pathways certificate appropriate for students who wish to progress to the VCE Vocational Major, TAFE, VET or employment.

This may include students with additional needs or who have missed a lot of schooling.

For example, if your child has not completed year 10 English they could instead complete the VPC unit equivalent (Unit 1 Literacy).

Structure of the VPC

The requirements of the VPC include:

  • A minimum of 12 units including VPC Numeracy, Literacy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills;

  • VCE and VCE Vocational Major units or VET units; and

  • Structured workplace learning.

According to the Victorian Department of Education, VPC study choices are going to increase over the coming years.


The VPC is usually completed across years 11 and 12. However, students may choose to study at their own pace and begin earlier or finish later.

Students can complete the VPC over a period longer than the standard 2 years.

The Victorian Department of Education recommends families to discuss the suitability of this option with their child’s school.

Doing VET subjects

Students can incorporate VET subjects in either the VCE or VCE Vocational Education.

Many VCE students complete one or more VET subjects to gain practical skills in an area they are interested in.

VCE in victoria. hairdresser.
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

If your child chooses to do a VET subject, this will contribute to their VCE program.

For example, your child may choose to do 5 VCE subjects and 1 VCE VET subject and they will still receive a VCE and enter university straight away.

Benefits of completing VET subjects

  • Counts towards ATAR and completion of the VCE

  • Students have the opportunity to undergo school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (including potentially paid positions)

  • Gaining hands-on or practical experience in a particular industry

  • Exploring a potential career or passion

  • Studying a subject you are interested in learning more about

Navigating Year 11 and 12 in Victoria

Many independent schools offer extra support for senior Year 11 and 12 students.

Xavier College has a unique program to support their senior students undergoing the VCE in Victoria.

At Xavier College, our Magis Scholars program sees our recent, high achieving graduates along with recently graduated teachers come back each night to support our VCE students in our College Library with tutoring, coaching and academic skill development.  Open until 8pm each night, with dinner available, our library is a place full of collaborative and personal study for our VCE students working in an inspiring, supportive environment

Michael Ilott, Director of Senior Campus

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.


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