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Top 20 Most Popular Units of Competency in Australia (Ranked!)

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Popular units of competency in Australia graphic

Looking for units of competency to add to your RTO’s scope to attract more students and boost enrolments? We’ve got you covered! Using the latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research’s data (NCVER), we’ve compiled and listed Australia’s top twenty most popular units of competency and why students are enrolling in them.

The Top 20 Units of Competency at a Glance

Rank  Code  Unit of Competency  No. of Enrolees  TGA Status 
1  HLTAID001  Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation  1,345,670  Superseded 
2  HLTAID003  Provide first aid  930,735  Superseded 
3  HLTAID002  Provide basic emergency life support  552,355  Superseded 
4  CPCCWHS1001  Prepare to work safely in the construction industry  209,165 


5  SITHFAB002 


Provide responsible service of alcohol 




6  HLTAID004  Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting  141,100  Superseded 
7  UETTDRRF06  Perform rescue from a live LV panel  49,260  Superseded 
8  SITHFAB005  Prepare and serve espresso coffee  48,320  Superseded 
9  RIIWHS302D  Implement traffic management plan  43,305  Superseded 
10  RIIWHS205D  Control traffic with stop-slow bat  41,150  Superseded 
11  MSMWHS217  Gas test atmospheres  36,240  Current 
12  TAEASS502  Design and develop assessment tools  35,475  Current 
13  HLTAID007  Provide advanced resuscitation  34,035  Superseded 
14  SITHGAM001  Provide responsible gambling services  33,555  Superseded 
15  TAELLN411  Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills  31,900  Superseded 
16  TLIF2080  Safely access the rail corridor  30,870  Superseded 
17  SISCAQU002  Perform basic water rescues  29,620  Current 
18  RIIHAN301E  Operate elevating work platform  20,390  Current 
19  RIIMP0320F  Conduct civil construction excavator operations  18,565  Current 
20  SISCAQU006  Supervise clients in aquatic locations  16,255  Current 
  • Based on the NCVER subject enrolment report of 2020. This list only contains single course unit of competencies.  


Here’s a breakdown of each unit and why they’re so popular: 

1. HLTAID001 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation 

The HLTAID001 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the most popular unit of competency in Australia. Despite the pandemic hitting in 2020, the HLTAID001 remained on top for another year, with over a million enrolees.   

Aside from being part of over a hundred qualifications, this is a popular single-unit course because it covers basic, life-saving resuscitation skills, with some workplaces requiring CPR certification. From agriculture to electrotechnology, this unit is important for any job seeker. 

This unit was updated in 2020 and is now superseded by HLTAID009. It took a long time before this unit of competency was upgraded. With the recent change, now is the perfect time to add this to your scope before it gets modified again. Make the most out of the fantastic opportunity and increase your enrolees with the sought-after unit. 

Number of Enrolees: 1,345,670 

The reason why most students take it: A job requirement and essential skills. 

2. HLTAID003 Provide first aid 

With HLTAID001 being so in-demand, it’s expected that the HLTAID003 comes second on this list of popular units of competency in Australia. Many jobs prefer or require learning how to conduct first aid as a fundamental skill.  It is also the minimum mandatory course for assigned first-aiders in the workplace. As a result, it’s packaged into a huge range of qualifications and skillsets across many industries, as well as being a popular course in its own right. From recognising and gauging an emergency to handling medical equipment, everything a student needs to know about basic first aid can be learned here.  

But just like HLTAID001, this competency unit was recently superseded and replaced by HLTAID011. If you’re one of the many RTOs who offered the previous unit, make sure you are not left behind and add this to your scope now. The recent update is not equivalent to the former unit, which means you can’t offer HLTAID011 without re-applying for scope. 

Number of Enrolees: 930,735 

3. HLTAID002 Provide basic emergency life support 

Often used interchangeably, providing CPR and basic life support (BLS) differs. This unit of competency covers handling minor wounds, emergency response, and providing CPR but is more focused on lung support. 

This unit of competency helps students acknowledge and react to life-threatening situations following the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines, just like HLTAID001 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It also covers the management of specific conditions such as allergic reactions, stroke, and shock. 

Updated along with the previous units of competency, it is now superseded by HLTAID010. 

Number of Enrolees: 552,355 

The reason why most students take it: An essential job requirement for multiple positions and fields. 

4. CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry 

The CPCCWHS1001 unit has thousands of students enrolled as it’s an essential and obligatory requirement for anyone who wants to set foot in the construction industry. Also called a white card or construction induction training, it covers the basics of safely working in construction. Be it a legislative requirement or identifying signs and symbols, this unit takes care of it all.  

Once successfully completed, a construction induction will be given while the student waits for their white card. The RTO will apply for the white card on behalf of the student. 

Conforming to the industry changes, the prepare to work safely in the construction industry was recently updated and uses the CPCWHS1001 code. 

Number of Enrolees: 209,165 

The reason why most students take it: Since late 2019, construction job vacancies have risen by 80% and over 100,000 jobs are expected to go unfilled by 2023 thanks to the lack of skilled and qualified candidates reports Gough. With workers in high demand and construction companies offering top dollar to new recruits, it’s no surprise this unit is as popular as it is, as it’s a requirement for employment in this field.  

5. SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol (RSA) 

The SITHFAB002, also known as RSA, is a crucial unit that, when completed, certifies people to sell, serve, and supply alcoholic beverages safely. Whether a club director or security staff, this unit will remain relevant as long as they’re looking into serving liquor and the state requires it.  

If you’re looking to add SITHFAB002 to one of your units of competency, then you’re in luck! It was recently updated and now uses the code SITHFAB021. Add this unit to the scope now so you can get students looking for the latest RSA course. 

Number of Enrolees: 144,645 

The reason why many students enrol: This profession often allows a lot of flexibility in work hours, making it ideal for uni students, new parents or those wanting additional income. This is a requirement to safely serve alcoholic beverages. 

6. HLTAID004 Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting 

Another first aid unit of competency, the HLTAID004 covers school and care services. It doesn’t matter if it is in a professional or non-professional setting, if you’re nursing or watching over children, it’s an essential and beneficial unit you need to take.  

Because of the new demands and needs in the health sector, the HTLAID004 has been replaced by HLTAID012 

Number of Enrolees: 141,100 

The reason why most students take it: With the childcare sector reaching crisis point over workforce shortages, workers in this field are in high demand. This unit is a requirement for the childcare sector or jobs that involve looking after children and is packaged into Early Childhood Education and Care related courses. 

7. UETTDRRF06 Perform rescue from a live LV panel 

There’s a huge calling for people to learn first aid, and it reflects in this list of sought-after units of competency. The UETTDRRF06 or low voltage (LV) rescue training specifically tackles safely performing rescue procedures for electrical emergencies from a live love voltage (LV) panel. It’s a crucial skill for people working with LV switchboards as it covers risk management and treatment, safe performance of live electrical work, and CPR.  

But months after UETTDRRF06’s second release went live, UETDRRF004 dropped, which supersedes the former version. Good thing that the latest update is an equivalent of the popular unit. 

Number of Enrolees: 49,620 

The reason why most students take it: Together with the construction boom is an increase in demand for skilled trades like electricians. This is a job requirement in the electrical field. 

8. SITHFAB005 Prepare and serve espresso coffee 

Australia has one of the most evolved coffee cultures. The country has so much passion for coffee that small-time baristas and cafes thrive better than famous brands. Despite the pandemic, the café and coffee shop industry continues to grow, creating a demand for baritas. And the SITHFAB005 is the perfect unit of competency for it. 

The SITHFAB005 takes on espresso making, coffee art, and selecting coffee beans. Just recently, this unit has undergone changes and is now superseded by and equivalent to SITHFAB025.  

Number of Enrolees: 48,320 

The reason why most students take it: Gain employment in the coffee industry. 

9. RIIWHS302D Implement traffic management plan 

Traffic control is not as easy as it appears to be. In the construction industry, it is essential to properly manage traffic to maximise the use of the remaining space while minimising the possibility of heavy traffic and risk. Many students take up RIIWHS302D as the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHC) require them to take this course to become qualified traffic controllers. 

The RIIWHS302D unit is now superseded by and equivalent to RIIWHS302E. Updates are done to reflect changes in the industry and clarify training outcomes. 

Number of Enrolees: 43,505 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement in the construction industry that has seen significant growth. 

10. RIIWHS205D Control traffic with stop-slow bat 

Aside from the RIIWHS302D, the RIIWHS205D is also a required course before you become a professional traffic controller. If you’re not familiar with the stop-slow bat, this refers to the sign traffic enforcers hold when managing traffic. And they can’t just use the signs if they want to. The RIIWHS205D gives them better information on how they can prepare and control traffic using the said sign, plus removing or covering when it’s not needed.  

In early 2020, the RIIWHS205D was replaced by RIIWHS205E but remained equivalent to it. 

Number of Enrolees: 41,150 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement in the growing construction industry. 

11. MSMWHS217 Gas test atmospheres 

Although not a requirement by regulators or industry bodies, a huge number of students who takes up the MSMWHS127 course are enrolled in it because of company mandates. Some oil and gas, tunnels, and water businesses require their employees to get the gas test atmospheres training. This unit is perfect for people who are assigned to test high-risk atmospheres in confined spaces, storage, and even open areas. 

Number of Enrolees: 36,240 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement of their job. 

12. TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools 

One important skill a training and education professional must have is creating credible learning materials. In the TAEASS502, trainers become students to understand the intricacies of developing and designing assessment tools. To improve vocational knowledge and competency, the ministry released amendments to the Standards for RTOs 2015 requiring trainers and assessors to take the TAEASS502 and it was packaged as a core unit into the TAE40116 qualification. This forced trainers and assessors to sign up for the course, hence securing a spot in this list of popular units of competency in Australia. 

Number of Enrolees: 35,475 

The reason why most students take it: With the education and training industry employing a whopping 1.21M Australians, which makes up 8.3% of the workforce, it’s no surprise this is a popular unit. This course is required of trainers and assessors in the VET space and is often a requirement for teaching roles. 

13. HLTAID007 Provide advanced resuscitation 

Curious what makes HLTAID007 different from the number 1 unit of competency? Unlike, HLTAID001 where basic CPR is taught, the advanced unit integrates the basics with the use of specialised equipment. Although there was a small decline in enrolees in 2020, this skill is more crucial now because of the risks brought by COVID-19. ARC also recommends that students take this course every 12 months so they can brush up on their skills. 

The HLTAID007 was replaced by HLTAID015 to incorporate oxygen therapy. 

Number of Enrolees: 34,035 

The reason why most students take it: A job requirement. 

14. SITHGAM001 Provide responsible gambling services (RSG) 

Also known as responsible conduct of gambling or RCG, the SITHGAM001 is a must for people who are interested in acquiring a job in the gambling industry. Although the sector is painted as fun and glamorous, there are certain risks to it, and that’s where RCG training comes in handy. It takes on responsible and safe implementation of gambling practices and how to handle customer problems. 

Fresh from final approval, the SITHGAM022 supersedes SITHGAM001 but is still equivalent to it. Take advantage of the amazing time and opportunity by adding this to your RTO’s scope! 

Number of Enrolees: 33,555 

The reason why most students take it: With nearly 2,000 casinos and gambling establishments across the country and more than $242 billion spent each year by Aussies, it’s an industry that has continued to grow, even during COVID. Employment in this industry is appealing to many and this unit is a requirement for employment. 

15. TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills 

The TAELLN411 unit discusses how trainers and assessors can identify core language, literacy, and numeracy (LLN) requirements of training assessments. It also explains how they can adjust training to meet the needs of learner cohorts.  Similar to TAEASS502, it gained high numbers of enrolees as the amendments in Standards for RTOs 2015 indicate that trainers and assessors should have TAELLN411 training. 

Number of Enrolees: 31,900 

The reason why most students take it: A job requirement for RTO & VET trainers and assessors. 

16. TLIF2080 Safely access the rail corridor 

Australia’s rail network is one of the largest in the world, and thousands use this to commute every day. To ensure that the trains run on time and properly, rail workers repair, build, and inspect the rail track. And the maintenance of this massive railroad entails risks.  

To avoid hazards and safeguard employees, anyone who wants to work on the rail track is required to take a list of competencies and get a rail industry worker (RIW) card. Included in this list of units of competency is the safely access the rail corridor or rail industry safety induction (RISI). It covers safety precautions to access the rail corridor and danger zone and what to do in case of an emergency. However, this unit was recently updated and is now superseded and equivalent to TLIF0020. 

Number of Enrolees: 30,870 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement in the related transport industry. 

17. SISCAQU002 Perform basic water rescues 

With 34,000 kilometres of coastline, beaches and water sports are popular amongst most Australians, creating a demand for qualified lifesavers. To secure a royal lifesaving bronze medallion or the minimum standard to become a qualified lifesaver, you must take certain first aid units like this one and perform basic water rescues.  

This specific unit of competency gives you clear knowledge and skills to perform fundamental water rescue procedures both indoors and outdoors.  

Number of Enrolees: 29,620 

The reason why most students take it: This unit is a job requirement for life savers and other occupations. Anyone working as a lifesaver must also renew their certification every two years by undertaking a refresher course, adding to this unit’s popularity. 

18. RIIHAN301E Operate elevating work platform 

Used for construction, maintenance, electrical line repair, safety inspections, cleaning, mining, and much more, this is a highly desirable and versatile skill. The RIIHAN301E unit offers knowledge and skills to manoeuvre an elevating platform under 11 meters. Operating a boom-type elevating platform might look fun, but this massive machine needs sufficient training so you can successfully utilise it. Therefore, most related professions require their staff to have sufficient knowledge about it before they can control and maintain one. 

Number of Enrolees: 20,390 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement of some companies and a highly versatile skill that is applicable in many industries. 

19. RIIMPO320F Conduct civil construction excavator operations 

Excavator operators are currently in high demand. From houses to buildings to mining and road works, any construction project needs the support of this heavy equipment. Operating this kind of machine is not an easy task. Robust, heavy, and unsteady, it can cause a massive accident at work if you don’t know how to control it properly. To prevent injuries, most businesses require their staff to have the proper knowledge of handling an excavator.  

Number of Enrolees: 18,565 

The reason why most students take it: Requirement for excavator operators. 

20. SISCAQU006 Supervise clients in aquatic locations 

COVID-19 took a toll on a lot of industries and the aquatic industry is no exception. There has been a shortage of qualified lifeguards in Australia during the pre-pandemic time and the pandemic made it worse. Pools are struggling to find staff to supervise and ensure safety. But entering this industry demands certain competencies. Apart from SISCAQU002, the supervise clients in aquatic locations is an essential training to help better identify and assess risky situations and maintain safety. 

Number of Enrolees: 18,565 

The reason why most students take it: A requirement of their current position. 

Using demand to inform your addition to scope plans will help boost enrolments for your RTO.  Before you start adding units of competency, here are a few additional considerations: 

  1. Make sure that you can acquire resources, facilities, and equipment indicated in the training package or accredited course. 
  2. Ensure that you reach the standards for RTOs for the training products you want to deliver. 

Looking for quality training resources for popular units of competency? Compliant Learning Resources develops training resources for most of the units of competency. You can find them here or get in touch with our team at 1300 885 484 or fill out the enquiry form to the right of this article. 

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