Health - FAQs

Why are university students working in hospitals if they are still studying for their qualifications?

The university students you’ve seen working in hospitals are completing the practical placement section of their degree. Students studying in the field of health have to be fully competent at the end of their degree- it’s essential so that they can move straight into clinical practice where they are looking after their own patients. To do this they need lots of training on the job to be fully prepared and ready. This is where the practical placement in hospitals and other health workplaces comes in. During these placements they are supervised and monitored by qualified and experienced hospital staff and university staff.

How many types of nurses are there?

As well as the Registered Nurses that you may have come across there are also lots of specialty areas of nursing, that students train in either during or after their first degree. These include emergency, geriatric , Intensive Care Unit, surgical nurse, mental health nursing, paediatric nursing, critical care nursing, cardiac care nursing, surgical nursing, community nursing. And there are sure to be lots of others.

What’s the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?

While both  Ophthalmologists and Optometrists specialise in treating disorders of the eyes, they are not the same.

An  Ophthalmologist is a doctor who has completed a medical degree and then undertaken further specialist training in eye and vision care. See Glossary entry for more detail. 

 Optometrists complete a degree in optometry rather than a medical degree. Optometrists provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes (e.g. long- and short-sightedness). See Glossary entry for more detail. 

What ATAR score is required for health profession courses?

ATAR scores are a sign of the popularity of a course rather than the difficulty level, job opportunities that result or quality of the institution that provides them. The more people who apply for a course, the higher the ATAR score may become.

ATAR scores can change each year. The ATAR required to get into a course will vary according to the number of people applying and the quality of those students in terms of their personal ATAR.

The best way to get an idea of the ATAR scores of health profession courses  is to see what the different universities required for their courses last year. Visit our LEAP Program Partners page to find links to the LEAP partner universities in Victoria.  Each link takes you to a page that outlines how to search that university's courses. Alternatively you can search for courses and ATARs using the VTAC website. 

University study - FAQs

Is it worth attending university Open Days?

Yes, they are well worth attending because you can find out all about a university you're interested in attending and get advice that can help you make the right choices for your future. They can be great fun as well! Check out our Open Day hints and tips.

How long will I have to study at university?

It depends which course you choose. Study durations for different professions and career roles can vary. As a general rule, a Bachelor degree is awarded after three years of full-time study. Some degrees incorporate a fourth year, or an Honours year if you intend to pursue certain professions.

In some professions, full professional accreditation or practise certification requires you to complete further study, such as a Postgraduate course, a Masters degree. In some cases a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) can be advantageous. But you don't need to aim that high at first - a Bachelor degree will give you opportunities to get going in many professions, then you can build your qualifications up over time while working your way up in your chosen profession. 

Some courses also offer internships or paid industry placements, so you will be getting the hands-on experience many employers are looking for at the same time as you are studying.

If you chose to study a double degree (two degrees at once) this will take longer but not as long as studying two separate degrees one after the other.

Check out the course guides for your preferred courses/ universities for more detail. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. Then chat to your school's Careers Coordinator.

What does it cost to study at university?

The cost varies between institutions and courses. Depending on whether you are offered a Commonwealth supported or a fee paying place, you will need to contribute financially to the cost of your study but the amount and timing will vary. A detailed explanation of available options can be found at the QILT website on the For Students page. Further information about help with fees is available on the Study Assist website.

What does 'full-time' study involve? Is the uni study year the same as school?

The standard full-time study year comprises two semesters each of around 12 weeks of teaching, one week for study break, and an exam period or final assignment submissions over the following four weeks (approx 34 weeks in total). The study year generally runs from early March to late June then late July to mid-November.

Some courses at some universities may be structured differently or flexibly. For example, Deakin University runs three trimesters each year. A third semester or internship during the summer or semester breaks may be available to reduce the total period for completion of the course if you want to fast-track it. 

You need to check specific dates and course structure options at each university you're considering when researching your preferred courses. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. 

Do I have to study for three years continuously?

Flexibility of study is a feature of most university courses, allowing you to study part-time or defer (take a break from) your studies, if for example you need to work to support yourself or want to take a gap year. Provided you meet any satisfactory progress rules, you may be able to study fewer subjects in some semesters, or even apply to defer study for a semester or a year, to get relevant experience through work or travel. It is important to check with the university and course you wish to study, so you know the options available.

How does learning at uni take place? What expectations are there? 

Learning at uni can be in many different forms. There are lectures and tutorials (tutes) but you might also attend labs, seminars, practical classes or even online classes. Attendance is not compulsory for most classes but it is for some. It is up to you to do your individual study away from classes and hand in your work on time. Lecturers and tutors will not be reminding you every minute to do your readings or hand in your assignments. Learning at uni is really all about the effort you put in – and that will be reflected in your marks.

If lectures can be viewed online, do I have to attend lectures in person?

While it is true nowadays most lectures at uni are recorded and available online, there are real benefits from actually attending. These include experiencing the university atmosphere, the ability to meet your lecturers and fellow students as well as the chance to ask questions and seek clarification in class. This is a great way to practise some of your essential skills like communication, networking and good listening. Friends made during regular lecture attendance often become study buddies or form into study groups. 

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