Learn the steps on how to become a Registered Training Organisation. 

Starting an RTO can be a highly rewarding and profitable business. The education industry employs over 1 million employees in Australia and is a $20 billion export business.  Having said it is a complicated and complex landscape to navigate. This guide is designed to help those that want to become an RTO but are not aware of just starting out. 

How to Become an RTO.

The key to successfully starting and maintaining an RTO is to ensure you understand the compliance regulations set up by ASQA  National Standards and Vocational & education Training Research.  

To successfully become a registered training organisation, you must have an understanding of the Australian Vet Sector. In addition to understanding the Vet Sector, you must also know the National stands and regulations in relation to becoming a new RTO. Click here for a guide on how to become a Registered training organization from scratch. To become an RTO and offer courses, you must ensure you have completed each of the below steps successfully before applying for the new RTO registrations:

What is an RTO?

Registered training organisations (RTOs) are education providers approved by ASQA to deliver VET courses. High-quality vocational education and training (VET) are critical to Australia’s education framework. VET provides Australian students with the knowledge and skills they need to make a positive contribution to the national skills shortage and workforce.

Steps for Becoming an RTO:

  1. Conduct the Research of the current National Standards, VET industry.
  2. Make sure you meet the financial viability requirements to start an RTO.
  3. Obtain compliant training and assessment resources.
  4. Organize Marketing content for the RTO.
  5. Ensure your policies and procedures are compliant with the NVR 2020.
  6. Prepare other requirements and conduct a self-audit.
  7. Apply to ASQA  for a new RTO registration application.
  8. Ensure RTO meets legislative obligations.
  9. Pay all applicable registration fees and charges.
  10. Successfully pass the RTO registration audit.
  1. Research of the current National Standards

The regulator for the VET sector in Australia is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). ASQA handles education providers whether you are offering online courses, CRICOS for international students or face-to-face learning.  They govern the majority of Trainer providers unless you only plan to provide state-specific training in Victoria and or Western Australia. In Victoria you will report to the  Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA) In Western Australia you will report to Training Accreditation Council (TAC)   


The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015  are in-depth legations that new RTO owners need to read and understand to ensure their training follows all the rules inside the document. The document helps those that are looking to start a new Registered Training Organisation by covering the following topics: 

  • Marketing and Recruitment 
  • Student Enrolment 
  • Support and Progression for students  
  • Training and Assessment 
  • Completion 
  • Regulatory Compliance and Governance Practice 
  • Fit and Proper Person Requirements, 
  • Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements, 
  • Data Provision Requirements


In addition to the above requirements and having a  grasp of your requirements in relation to the Standards for RTOs 2015, you must also be familiar with the VET Quality Framework in order to be successful in your initial steps in registering an RTO. 


Financial viability requirements to start an RTO

To become an RTO, you must complete and pass ASQA’s financial viability risk assessment.  This step is required to prove to ASQA that you have the financial security required to start the RTO and ensure you can maintain the ongoing costs of the new RTO for many years and students will not be impacted due to your RTO not having sufficient finances.

Steps required to meet financial viability requirements.

In order to prove to AQSA that your RTO will meet the financial requests you will need to prepare the following:

  • Prepare RTO Business plan
  • Financial forecast
  • ASQA’s Financial Viability Assessment (FVRA) Tool

These documents will prove to ASQA that you have the financial capability to achieve the basic functions for starting the RTO including but not limited to:

  • Buy the equipment and/or stock to start your RTO.
  • Obtain resources required to offer the courses your RTO plans to add to the scope.
  • Pay wages for teachers to deliver what you plan to add to the scope and other administrative tasks.
  • student support services.
  • Miscellaneous operating costs related to having an  RTO such as training venue, utilities, travel.

RTO business plan overview 

A business plan is designed to provide an overview of the new RTO organization’s goals and strategies and how your organisation plan to reach those goals. Having a detailed and well-researched business plan shows the regulator that you are serious about running your new RTO and you have a long-term plan for its success.

The RTO business plan follows the usual standard and should include short-term and long terms goals and strategies. You need to ensure the business plans include the following information. The RTO business plan should have the below topics covered as a minimum.

  • Planned courses to add to the scope
  • Basic funding overview
  • Target market
  • RTO stakeholders
  • location for the RTO
  • equipment costs
  • expansion of courses to scope
  • equipment requirements
  • facilities requirements
  • delivery method and location
  • competitor analysis
  • organizational structure
  • short terms and long terms goals for the RTO
  • market analysis for the courses you plan to add to the scope
  • SWOT(Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats ) analysis
  • financial goals both short and long terms

Complete ASQA’s Financial Viability Assessment (FVRA) Tool

One of the critical steps of the VET Quality Framework is to complete the  Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements. As part of this process you will need to provide the following documents:

  • bank balance/s,
  • bank reconciliations, and
  • other financial documentation

New RTO applications have different regulators based on where you plan to deliver the course.  the  requirements for the education regulator are below:

  • ASQA –  ASQA’s Financial Viability Risk Assessment (FVRA)
  • TAC  – 2-year forecast, balance sheet, and cash flow projections
  • VRQA  – 3-year forecast

Upon completion of the above steps, you must get the information certified by an independent accountant is a current member of  CPA-Australia.

Training and Assessment Resources  to start your RTO

ASQA has a student-focused model which means that during the initial RTO registration,  one of the main factors that the ASQA auditor searches for is the quality of your training and assessment resources.

Ensuring your training and resources are compliant and of high quality prior to the registration is a crucial requirement and will have a big part to play wheater you successfully complete initial registration and become and Registrar training organisation.

Your training and resources should include the following:

  • compliant  assessment tool – ensuring the map to current requirements
  • compliant learning resources
  • equipment required for students to undertake the course
  • qualified trainer and assessors
  • venue information

4 . Devlop Markering materials

Prior to becoming an RTO ASQA needs to see your marketing material to ensure it is in line with the current students and is not giving students any misleading information prior to enrolment.

The information provided to students must be clear and accurate on all documentation and the new RTO’s marketing material.  Before the student commences they must understand what the course is going to cover, what is the price of the course, any prior requirements are the very basics that should be covered.  To find a comprehensive list visit this link.

Although your new RTO needs the have this information ready important to note that you can not start advertising in any form until your RTO has successfully passed the audit. This includes websites, flyers, student handbooks, and brochures.

5. Create Policies and Procedures

When starting a new RTO you must have all your policies and procedures compliant with the current standards for RTO  before you submit your initial application. Although most new to owners by these policies and producers it is important that you are familiar with the content within these documents.

The Registered Training Organisation should have policies and providers in the following areas.

  • marketing and student enrolment practices
  • Training and assessment practices
  • complaints process
  • continuous improvement process

The Policy and procedure need to ensure the cover enrolment practices,  effective training and assessment, regulatory compliance and governance, and basic functions such as what the process when a student completes the course student completion procedures.

Modern RTO have this stored online when all staff can have to access the documents Your policies and providers should include the below documents as a minimum:

  • Advertising and Marketing – General Principles
  • Assessment Validation – General Principles
  • Assessment Validation – Procedure
  • Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination – General Principles
  • Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination – Procedure
  • Complaints and Appeals – General Principles
  • Complaints and Appeals – Procedure (Appeals Handling)
  • Complaints and Appeals – Procedure (Complaints Handling)
  • Core Skills Support – Procedure
  • Critical Incident Response – General Principles
  • Individual Learner Needs – General Principles
  • Recognition of Prior Learning – General Principles

6.  Conduct a self-audit

In business, there is always planning required this is especially the case when you are starting a new Registered Training Organisation.  If you have read this far into this guide you will realise new RTO owners need to be diligent and have the ability to research and prepare.  The best way to conduct a self-audit is by having an initial registration checklist.  Below is a sample of items to include:

ASQA receives approximately 500 new registration every year and it rejects one in four of those applications, therefore making sure you have all your documents compliant from the initial registration is critical. As of 2018 ASQA has become more strict with the new RTO application. If a major non-compliance is found you might not get the chance to rectify the non-complication and instead have to complete a whole new registration. This includes paying the new registration fee again. For this reason, conducting a self-audit or getting an education consultant that specializes in helping businesses become RTOs.  ASQA is nice enough to provide a new registration self-assessment tool.

7. Submit your RTO registration application

The 2nd last step on your way to Becoming an RTO is to submit the application via  Asqanet. The ASQA online portal allows you to do the following

  • upload documents related to your application
  • oversea your registration,
  • pay fees related to your application.

Once you submit you will need to pay the initial lodgement fee of $500 and the remaining amount of $8,000 will be paid after ASQA completes the initial risk assessment stage of the audit.

Successfully navigate your RTO registration audit

The last step to become an RTO is to pass the new RTO registration audit commencing with the risk assessment. The ASQA audit will now go through all the documents and evidence you have provided and compare them with the current RTO standards to ensure they are compliant. Once the risk assessment is complete you will be given a date for your actual audit. During this time the auditor will go through the ASQA new audit model.

The approach is designed to be student-centered and was introduced and the end of 2016 as an improvement of the previous audit practice from ASQA. ASQA may give you an idea of which area they are going to audit based on your application but as a guideline, you should be familiar with the below six areas:

  1. Marketing and recruitment
  2. Enrolment
  3. Support and progression
  4. Training and assessment
  5. Completion
  6. Regulatory compliance and governance practice

During the audit, the auditor may ask to see any of the following

  • training facilities
  • trainer information
  • training resources
  • policy and procedure document
  • quality and assurance systems and processes

If your audit is onsite you should ensure your training facility is ready to take in students and looks the part.  It shows that you care about your students and your students are your main priority.


By now you know that becoming an RTO in Australia is not an easy process. You have to ensure diligently prepare, research, and execute and plan whilst ensuring you are able to answer questions during the audit process. Remember that 3 out of 4  new RTO registration and successful and if they can do it so can you.  Always remember the main goal of ASQA is to ensure your RTO is going to deliver high-quality training to your students.

Becoming an RTO Frequently asked questions

Are new RTOs profitable?

Like any business, RTOs can make you a good amount of profit. The owner needs to ensure you are adhering to all the rules and regulations set by ASQA or that profit can quickly turn into a loss. As an operator, you can suffer personal financial consequences.

 RTO Set-up Costs

There are many costs associated with setting up an RTO.  The ASQA fees for the initial registration will cost you  $8500.  This is under the assumptions you are adding four  qualifications to the scope and one delivery site. Anything above that and there will be extra charges.