Understanding the qualifications system

This page aims to help employers understand how qualifications are administered and quality assured in New Zealand and how they transfer to the workplace, whether they’re qualifications awarded in New Zealand or overseas. 

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) administers the New Zealand qualifications system, including the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).

NZQA has information on the types of qualifications in New Zealand. You can find more information on NZQA's studying in New Zealand page. As well as finding out more about tertiary qualifications, you may like to read more about the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA), which can be awarded either at secondary school or in tertiary study.

Quality assurance

NZQA approves and quality assures all qualifications other than those delivered at universities. Universities New Zealand has responsibility for quality assurance in the university sector.

To appear on the NZQF qualifications must be approved and quality assured, and delivered by an accredited education or training provider.

The primary responsibility for the quality of education delivered rests with the organisation that provides those services. However, quality assurance processes are in place to ensure government and individuals are investing time and money in quality education and training. 

Evidence of qualifications claimed

Learners who have been awarded qualifications on the NZQF (after 1992) can get their own Record of Achievement as proof of qualifications attained.

Qualifications awarded by the councils of universities, ITPs and wānanga are public records. To view the Roll of Graduates you can check the institution’s website or contact the institution to validate the details of specific qualifications awarded. Charges may apply.

For qualifications awarded by a private training establishment (PTE), contact the PTE.  



If you are planning to live and work in New Zealand you may need to have your international qualification recognised.  In particular, if you are moving to New Zealand under the Skilled Migrant Category you may need to have your qualifications assessed as part of your application. 

Qualifications that don’t need to be assessed

Many international qualifications don't need a qualification assessment for immigration purposes. Immigration NZ maintains a list of qualifications exempt from assessment.

Qualifications that do need to be assessed

Immigrants can also apply for an International qualifications assessment. This process compares the international qualification against the NZQF to identify a New Zealand equivalent or similar qualification. Assessment fees will apply.

  • Last changed: 25 August 2015
  • Last verified: 25 August 2015