Qualifications and their levels

TEC AoG 18815 Plan Your Career Advice pages webtiles v4 Qualifications and their levels

New Zealand tertiary qualifications and their levels.

Levels of tertiary qualifications

Tertiary qualification levels in New Zealand range from Level 1 certificates to Level 10 Doctorates:

Qualification levels

Information about qualifications should always state their level, which indicates how much work's involved. For example, these certificates in applied science have very different requirements for learners:

The qualifications framework and NCEA

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA):

  • approves secondary and tertiary qualifications
  • places those qualifications at the appropriate level on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF).

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA):

  • are usually studied at secondary school
  • are part of the NZQCF
  • range from Level 1 to 3.

Tertiary qualifications while still at school

You may be able to study for tertiary or workplace qualifications as well as NCEA while at school.

Qualification level, pay and job entry

Pay rates 

Higher qualifications usually lead to higher incomes and better chances of employment. Your subjects, skills and talents also affect your income and job chances.

Job entry and qualifications

You need a degree to do some jobs. For others you need a certificate or diploma, and some jobs have no formal entry qualifications.


Micro-credentials recognise your skills and knowledge in an area that employers are looking for, such as repairing electric vehicle batteries. Some micro-credentials are registered on NZQCF.

Updated 30 Oct 2023