"Matua Rankin got me connected with my Māori culture."

Noah – BA student

Tertiary Education Student

"My passion for biology is all thanks to Dr Salmonds."

Matt – BSc student

Tertiary Education Student

"Mr Tuala encouraged me to focus on my mental health."

Raewyn – LLB/BA student

Becoming a teacher

Find a course that will work for you. 

There is a range of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes where you can study to become a teacher. 

Use the Teaching Council's ITE course finder tool ITE courses and providers to find a course that best suits you. You can filter the courses and providers by criteria such as location, length of study, language medium, and education sector.

Once you’ve chosen a course, you can contact the relevant ITE provider who can give you more information about their qualifications, entry criteria, application forms and study dates.

All teaching qualifications in New Zealand go through a quality approval process, and are approved by NZQA and the Teaching Council to ensure graduates are eligible to apply for registration.

It is possible to remain employed while you study, and there are some ITE programmes that allow you to do this. These programmes offer you the flexibility to continue earning while you study to become a qualified teacher.

If you are employed in a school as a learning assistant, a member of support staff, a teacher aide, or on a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT), there are programmes that enable you to remain employed in your role and continue earning while you study to become a qualified teacher. You will build confidence through in-classroom experience, while being supported by a strong mentoring programme. Speak with your school principal or senior leader about supporting you through initial teacher education.

You no longer need to leave your community or hapori to study to become a qualified teacher. ITE providers are located across the country, and some programmes allow you to study entirely by distance.

There are options to study for a teaching qualification that focuses on te reo Māori and te ao Māori, including a range of options for teaching in bilingual or full immersion settings.

As a teacher of te reo Māori, and/or having the ability to teach in Māori-medium and kaupapa Māori settings, you would be in demand for your language skills, and knowledge of tikanga and mātauranga Māori.

There are options to study for a teaching qualification that focuses on Pacific languages, cultures and identity.

As a Pacific teacher, you would be in demand for your language skills and as a role model for Pacific students in New Zealand.

Financial support is available from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education.

Fees free

Fees Free is a fund for first-time tertiary learners. Offered by TEC, the fund covers fees for one year's study or two years’ work-based training – up to $12,000.

Fees Free – Tertiary Education Commission


StudyLink is a Ministry of Social Development service which may be able to help pay for your study through allowances and loans.

StudyLink – Ministry of Social Development


See more information in the Scholarships section below.

University entrance

University entrance is the minimum requirement to study at a New Zealand university. Entry requirements to courses vary between ITE providers. Check out individual providers’ websites for more information.

Bridging or foundation qualifications

Many ITE providers recommend bridging or foundation qualifications for people who don’t meet the entry requirements for teaching programmes. These programmes may take up to one year and can provide flexibility if you have other commitments. Get in touch with the provider to discuss options if you want to know more about bridging or foundation qualifications.

Discretionary pathways

A ‘discretionary pathway’ is a way in which you can study to become a teacher, even if your NZQA report states that your qualifications do not meet the core knowledge requirements of an ITE qualification.

This pathway considers qualifications, teaching experience, appraisal material and professional development as a package to determine whether you can be granted registration as an exception to policy.

Discretionary pathways – Teaching Council

Flexible entry requirement

Several ITE providers recognise the body of experience a candidate has as equivalent to an undergraduate level 7 degree. This includes te reo fluency, experience working in technology and construction etc. in addition to the bridging or foundation qualifications.

Good character

The Teaching Council also requires you demonstrate that you are of good character and fit to be a teacher.

Thank you, teachers

Hear from students across the motu talking about their teachers and the influence they have had on their lives. 

Thanks, teachers

Teachers have a huge influence on their students' lives. Could you remember the names of teachers who have influenced your life? 

Maya's story

Hear from Maya and the influence her teacher had on her.