student handbook


On this page you can find information about:

Course Length

Each course we deliver has a set enrolment period for you to complete it. Most of our qualification course durations are between 1 and 2 years. Our Short Courses range between 3 and 6 months. Please refer to your Course Handbook for your particular enrolment period. Your enrolment period starts at the commencement of your intake, and not when you start submitting assessments.

You must ensure that all your assignments, including resubmissions, are submitted before your course enrolment period expires, allowing time for marking and resubmissions. You must be an active and current student for us to be marking your work. You must hand in your last assessment/s at least 6 weeks prior to expiring. This allows for marking time and time for you to resubmit if required. If you hand in first assessments in the last 6 weeks leading up to your expiry date, you will need to extend.

Please note: If the qualification you are enrolled in is updated at the training package level, the length of enrolment and potential extension time available to you may be shorter than our standard enrolment policy. This is because legislation governs the transition and teachout of qualifications that have been superseded. Where this affects you, we will communicate to you as soon as we have information available, and at the time you enrol or apply for an extension.

Due Dates

You are responsible for setting yourself a study schedule that means you can complete the course in time.

In the front of every learner’s guide, you will find a schedule for that subject. Following these will mean you will finish before you expire. These timings are based on the average student putting in the recommended 10-15 hours per week of study. Following this will ensure you have the opportunity to complete your work prior to expiry.

We strongly advise you stick to the suggested due dates provided to ensure you keep on track and finishing your studies before your course enrolment expires. You do not need to request an extension for individual assessments if you’re running a little behind and there are no academic penalties for handing an an assessment late.


Extensions to your enrolment period are possible if you meet the eligibility criteria.

There is a fee involved and the fee will differ depending on the period of the extension that you request. Fees are detailed in the Fee section of this handbook.

To arrange an extension, you must complete and submit an Application for Extension form at least 14 days prior to your expiry. On your application, you will need to detail the reason for extension and provide evidence, the period of extension you are requesting, and summarise your plans to ensure you can complete the course requirements with the extra time.

All extensions are approved at the discretion of the Nurse Educators, if you meet the minimum eligibility criteria and they are satisfied that you have an acceptable plan in place to complete the course.


Any Qualification student, including accredited and non-accredited, who is wishing to extend their course enrolment duration must meet the below requirements:

  • Has logged in and submitted an assessment in the last 8 weeks.
  • Is at least 50% of the way through their total course work.
  • OR has an acceptable reason for not completing 50% course requirements in the standard enrolment duration and has provided evidence of the claim.
  • Has not already extended the maximum time allocated for their enrolment type.
  • Their course enrolment is still active and has not yet expired.
  • Has completed paying their course fees in full and has no outstanding money owed to either VNS or the RTO they are enrolled under.
  • Has a plan in place to ensure they can complete the course requirements in the extension period if granted.

Any Short Course student who is wishing to extend must meet the below requirements:

  • Has not already extended the maximum time allocated
  • Their course is still active and has not yet expired

 Students who meet these requirements are able to extend for a maximum of:

  • Equivalent duration of original enrolment period if a fee for service student. Eg.
    • 12 months for ACM20121
    • 18 months for ACM30122
    • 24 months for ACM40418 Full Study
  • Equivalent duration of original enrolment period if a non-accredited qualification student
  • 6 months if a government funded student
  • 6 months if a RPL student
  • 6 months if a Short Course student
  • For NRT qualifications that are in a teachout period, to one month prior to the teachout period ending.

To apply for an extension, students must complete an Application for Extension form and return it to us at least 14 days prior to their expiry date. Students will be emailed the Application for Extension as part of their expiry email notifications.

Students can select the length of time they wish to extend for up to the maximum time allowed. Students can apply for additional extensions if they still have some time left in their extension allowance. For example, if you are approved for an extension for ACM20121, you will be allowed to extend for up to 12 months. You can select 3 months if you wish, and still have 9 more months of extension time available if you need more time to complete your studies. You will still need to apply for the next extension but it will be automatically granted as you have already met extension criteria.

If more than 50% of the course requirements have been completed (that is 50% of your subjects are completed in full with no outstanding assessments or resubmissions), and you have met all other criteria, your extension will be approved.

If less than 50% of course requirements have not been completed, a Nurse Educator will review your application and provided evidence against the extension criteria. If the evidence is deemed not enough, the Nurse Educator will ask the student to provide further evidence and may interview the student prior to making a decision.

The Nurse Educator must look at the application holistically and make a decision that is in the best interest of the student given the information provided. Whether to approve or deny the extension is at the discretion of the Nurse Educator. Any student can appeal a decision following the normal appeals process.

Once the application for extension has been approved, the student must make payment for the extension prior to the expiry date. If payment is not made, the student will expire and need to reenrol to complete the course.

If a student does not meet the above criteria, their extension will not be approved and they will be notified. To complete their course they will need to enrol again, following normal enrolment processes including credit transfers.

If the student’s course has expired before an extension has been approved and paid, then extensions are no longer possible. To complete their course they will need to enrol again, following normal enrolment processes including credit transfers.

If a student is enrolled in superseded subjects that they have not commenced assessment in, they may be required to purchase new learners guide versions and be enrolled into the latest versions. Fees apply.

All fees charged to the student are as per the latest version of the Student Handbook.


Extensions aren’t automatically granted.

Along with meeting the eligibility criteria, a Nurse Educator will assess your extension request holistically. As long as they are satisfied you took reasonable steps to avoid the circumstances that contributed to your being unable to complete your course work on time, your extension will be approved.

The following are acceptable reasons to apply for an extension:

If a medical condition, including pregnancy, has affected your ability to study for an extended time period (more than 4 weeks), you are eligible to apply for an extension.

A medical practitioner must assess your condition and provide a signed medical certificate. You must submit this medical certificate with your extension request.

The doctor must be independent – they cannot be a near relative (e.g. a spouse, partner, child, brother, sister, or parent) or a close associate (e.g. a close friend, neighbour, or partner or child of a colleague).

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A signed medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner, or a registered nurse.
  • A statement from a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist. The statement must confirm how your circumstances have affected your ability study and for how long.

The medical certificate must:

  • be written on official medical centre letterhead
  • include a provider number and stamp
  • be free of handwritten amendments, and
  • specify relevant dates.

Unacceptable supporting evidence
  • Documentation that only states information provided by you.
  • A medical certificate for an elective or non-critical medical appointments (e.g. optical, dental) or one with no time frame specified.

Students with a chronic medical condition

If you have a disability or a chronic medical condition (including a mental health condition), we encourage you to speak with our Nurse Educators and Student Support Services. We can work with you to help support you during your studies and make reasonable adjustments for you.

If you are a UQ student, you can also access Student Services.

You may be eligible to apply for an extension on compassionate grounds.

Compassionate grounds include, but are not limited to:

  • sudden serious illness of a family member who required you to care for them
  • recent death of an immediate or close family member
  • traumatic events or misadventure, including natural disasters, or
  • being the victim of a crime.
Examples of acceptable supporting evidence
  • Death certificate, or funeral notice. If the relationship between you and the deceased is not immediately clear (e.g. you have different surnames), please also provide a statutory declaration.
  • A police report or statement from a relevant authority, or a letter from a professional you disclosed the trauma, misadventure or crime to. If you didn’t report the trauma or crime, we will accept a statement from a counsellor or similar.
  • A statement from a medical practitioner. The statement must include the medical status of the patient, the patient’s relationship to you, and relevant dates. If you are a carer, the medical certificate must state the period that you are required to provide care for the patient.

If you are undertaking maternity leave we recommend you continue studying as much as you can. Many course aspects can be studied at home. We do recognise that having a newborn in the house can affect your ability to study effectively, and your access to a workplace for the practical components of your course. Therefore extensions are possible.

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • Confirmation of Paid Maternity Leave from Centrelink. 
  • Confirmation of Maternity Leave period from your employer, signed on a letter head.
  • Birth Certificate of your child.

If you are an elite athlete representing Australia – or an Australian state or territory – you may be eligible to apply for an extension.

The extension request must be related to a specific sporting event or activity.

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A letter written on state, national or international sporting letterhead. The letter must confirm the specific event and dates of the sporting event or activity. The letter must also describe the nature of your sporting commitment (e.g. training, travel etc.) and explain how it affects your ability to submit the assessment item on time.

Unacceptable supporting evidence

The following is not considered grounds for an extension:

  • sporting events that aren’t at a state, national or international level, and
  • additional holiday time before or after elite sporting commitments.

If you’re working at the highest levels as an artist or performer, you may be eligible to apply for an extension.

You must have a specific and significant commitment to a recognised state, national or international cultural or artistic event. These events might include members of:

  • Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
  • Ausdance or Australian Dance Theatre
  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • State symphony orchestras
  • Australian Youth Orchestra, or
  • Opera Australia.

This list is not exhaustive. Performers or artists who are working at similarly high levels are eligible to apply.

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A letter on official letterhead that confirms the dates of the event. The letter must confirm the nature of your commitment to the event and explain why you can’t undertake study at that time (eg rehearsal commitments).

Unacceptable supporting evidence

The following is not considered grounds for an extension:

  • amateur or community theatre performances, or local artistic or cultural events, and
  • attending performances or cultural activities.

We expect students to tell their employers about their study commitments – employment-related reasons are not usually accepted as exceptional circumstances.

However, we will consider your application if you have been directed to undertake unusual, or extraordinary duties that were beyond your control and affected your ability to submit an assessment item on time. This includes significant overtime for an extended period of time (more than 4 weeks).

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A letter on company letterhead from your employer. The letter must confirm the existence of unforeseen and extraordinary work commitments. The letter must detail the date when you were first notified of the unforeseen or extraordinary work commitments, why they were unexpected, and how they affect your ability to undertake study.

Unacceptable supporting evidence
  • Emails from a colleague about work are not accepted as supporting evidence.
  • A statement from you without supporting evidence from your employer.

The following are not usually considered grounds for an extension:

  • irregular casual work
  • increased ordinary work commitments to full time hours
  • overtime unless for an extended period of time
  • financial problems
  • conference attendance
  • ordinary demands of employment, or
  • increased work or pressures as a consequence of promotion.

If you’re a full or reservist member of the defence forces or an emergency services member or volunteer (e.g. SES, Rural Fire Service) and you are required to render any service, including training, you are eligible to apply for an extension.

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A letter or statement on official letterhead, signed by an authorised officer of the relevant organisation. The letter must detail your role within the service, and the start and finish dates of training or activity.

If you have received a jury summons that requires your service for an extended period of time (more than 4 weeks), you are eligible to apply for an extension.

Acceptable supporting evidence
  • A copy of the jury summons. The summons must include the start and finish dates of the jury duty.


The following reasons are not grounds for an extension:

  • computer or internet problems or access difficulties
  • holiday arrangements (including overseas travel)
  • misreading expiry dates or due dates
  • unexpected events causing less than 4 weeks loss of study time
  • difficulty studying effectively or adjusting to the demands of adult education and distance learning
  • normal levels of stress or anxiety associated with study (accommodations can be made for students with a mental health condition if assistance is requested at the time of enrolment or diagnosis)
  • English language difficulties
  • visa problems
  • financial problems
  • moving house or changing address
  • death or ill health of pets
  • social or leisure events (other than sporting or cultural activities at an elite level)
  • minor events or accidents
  • ordinary family events or commitments, or
  • normal pressures relating to study or employment.