What are the advantages of doing a Certificate IV or Diploma of Building and Construction?

The construction industry is a large industry, one that plays host to a significant aggregate of roles. When discussing the advantages of certain courses to be touched upon soon within the article we must first understand that there are indeed a numerous variety of roles in the industry and this is an important factor.


Not only is the industry large in the aforementioned sense of its amount of rules but in the diversity and variance that exists in the roles. Roles range from construction management to carpentry and a lot of roles are quite different such as the roles of construction management and carpentry which can be used as an example. What one does is so vastly different to another. A plumber and a carpenter will have quite dissimilar skills that they will utilise in their respective goals in a construction project and these comparisons can be drawn across the construction field with numerous other existing roles.


Each role requires its own set of skills and speciality varying from role to role. How one may decide to begin their journey can differ according to the individual goals. Courses are offered in building and construction that tailor to your needs in building your career in the way you would envision. Some individuals decide upon starting from the bottom and working their way to the top harvesting knowledge in a sequential order that may reach a point. This point would be where they are at a level that they are proficient in a particular area. On the other hand others may look at starting from a point where it is easier to progress and expand on their studies.


The latter is going to be the more preferred option, particularly for those who are not early school leavers. There are construction courses which have been designed to give you an advanced learning experience in building and construction while also being accommodating for all the varying levels of experience that may be there. At this point it becomes a question of which course should one pursue or where should one start? This blog aims to illuminate the courses and qualifications and standards that exist while focusing mainly on the Certificate IV and Diplomas in Building and Construction and highlighting their advantages.


For an industry that has such a large breadth and scope to explore for those seeking to enter it, there is an expectation of quality. Both the Certificate IV and Diplomas are both levels of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which is used to separate qualifications in education and training, classified as levels. Out of 10 levels, the Certificate IV is the fourth and the Diploma is the fifth, which represents a general rise in education standards from the previous levels. 


There are courses of different areas in the different levels that exist, and building and construction is one of them that features quite prominently among the others. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) outlines the levels and standards of educational qualifications in Australia. In total, there are 10 levels, and they are as follows:


  • Certificate I
  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
  • Masters Degree
  • Doctoral Degree


Certificate IV


There are courses of different areas at the level of Certificate IV, and building and construction is one of them that features prominently.


The course itself comprises of 16 units, with 13 of them being core and the other 3 being elective. The topics covered include but are not limited to:


  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Managing occupational health and safety (OH&S)
  • Conducting on-site supervision of projects
  • Reading and interpreting plans and specifications
  • Arranging for building applications and approvals


What this course aims to do, through these areas and many more, is enable you with skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It also seeks to enhance your knowledge in building and construction to an advanced level, which drastically increases chances of landing job opportunities. Roles commonly sought after and filled upon completion of this course include contract administrators, estimators, site supervisors etc. 


Students will also be able to attend classes which introduce and teach topics and at later points provide assessments, and perform a minimum of two hours of their own research. The time taken to complete the course is roughly 34 weeks, which takes into consideration the amount of content needed to learn before one is adequately trained to the level required for Certificate IV. 




The Diploma represents a bump in level from the Certificate IV. The bar has been raised at this level in terms of difficulty and this does make sense when you consider the fact that after this level you are heading towards specialising at a university level by completing a bachelor’s degree. 


At this level both the theoretical and practical components of the Diploma will become more complex continuing on from the Certificate IV. At this level the course in question for us to look at will be the Diploma in Building and Construction.


The Diploma of Building and Construction contains 18 units, of those 18 there are 13 of them that are considered core units with the other 5 being elective units. Various areas are covered in the diploma such as:


  • Applying principles of OHS risk management
  • Controlling project quality and risk
  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Applying site surveys and set out procedures
  • Managing environmental and energy conservation practices and processes


The course lasts for 50 weeks, covering many topics such as the ones mentioned above. Students will need to reserve a minimum of 2 hours per week of self-directed research, supplementing classes which will be supervised by a Trainer. 


The Diploma of Building and Construction is a continuation of the Certificate IV course mentioned in the previous level. Due to the advance in difficulty, it is aimed at tradespeople and other employed people in the construction industry who are looking to advance their skills in management and development of residential/low-rise construction. Roles commonly sought after upon completion of this level include Site Manager, Project Manager or Domestic Builder. This course is also particularly useful for those seeking to start their own construction company as this course will give them absolutely crucial skills in being able to manage their construction business.


Now that you are aware of what each course is and what they comprise, the important question to consider is what are the benefits of completing these courses?


In terms of the Certificate IV in Building and Construction, the most notable advantage it provides is ease of entry into the industry. You do not need to necessarily be proficient or have minimal knowledge in construction to undertake this course. In theory, anyone can do it. This means that you can fastrack your way into the industry by developing your knowledge in a relatively simple and succinct manner.


What the Diploma of Building and Construction offers, more so than the Certificate IV, is scope. What you learn in the Certificate IV course will be expanded upon and developed to a higher level of competency. If you thought you were proficient in one area, you can expect to become even more knowledgeable in that area by completing a Diploma. What this gives you is access to a greater range of roles you would be eligible for, as employers would seek highly trained individuals who can slot in seamlessly because of the level they preside at.


All in all, both the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and the Diploma of Building and Construction offer excellent incentives to develop your knowledge in construction and propel your career to ultimately achieve your goals and objectives. Truthfully, it is up to you how far you are willing to progress to develop your skills, which will impact what you seek as a job in the future.


Parker Brent is a provider of courses in building and construction. For more information, talk to our experts here.