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Overseas teachers

Information for teachers outside of New Zealand who want to teach in New Zealand, including English language requirements, registration, police checks and how to find a job.

To be employed as a teacher in New Zealand, you need to be registered and hold a current practising certificate. You must also have the legal right to live and work in New Zealand - contact Immigration New Zealand for information on this.

How to become registered and certificated:

  1. Check if your overseas qualifications are pre-approved by NZQA.
  2. If they are not pre-approved, you will need to apply for an International Qualifications Assessment.
  3. Gather supporting information for your application (see EC15 completion guide), including qualifications and transcripts, evidence of your English language proficiency, overseas police certificates, testimonials and appraisal material from previous employers and a copy of your CV. We require certified copies of documents. We are not resourced to return originals.
  4. Submit all supporting information with your EC15 form.

Please note, prospective or current teachers with undergraduate qualifications obtained overseas may, at some point, need to complete an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) for other purposes, such as for salary assessment. Find out more here


What does it mean to be a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand from CORE Ministry Video on Vimeo.

What does teaching look like in Aotearoa New Zealand? from CORE Ministry Video on Vimeo.

Pathways into registration

If you hold qualifications that are pre-approved by NZQA (ie on the NZQA pre-approved list), the Council considers this as evidence that you are satisfactorily trained to teach. If your International Qualifications Assessment report shows that your qualifications are assessed by NZQA to contain the core knowledge components of an approved New Zealand ITE qualification, then it is likely that you will meet the requirement, but the Council will still need to review your qualifications. We will also require evidence of your recent teaching experience and your English language proficiency before your application can be finalised.

If your qualification/s are not comparable, you can apply for consideration under the Discretionary Pathway. Under the Discretionary Pathway we consider qualifications, teaching experience, appraisal material and professional development as a package to determine whether you meet the registration requirement of being ‘satisfactorily trained to teach'. When an application is considered in this way, there can be no prior assurances given about the outcome until a decision is reached. To be considered satisfactorily trained to teach you need to have a tertiary level qualification that includes sufficient elements of teacher education and pedagogical study usually equivalent to a level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. Find out more here.

Teaching experience on its own will not be sufficient for registration in New Zealand. Some teachers choose an employment-based pathway (such as the Graduate Teacher Programme from the United Kingdom) that does not result in the award of a qualification from an accredited institution to work overseas. NZQA is unable to assess the study of these employment-based programmes. While these programmes may lead to Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) in the United Kingdom, this is a status and not an academic award.

If a person does not meet the satisfactory trained to teach requirements, then they can complete an approved initial teacher education programme in New Zealand to be eligible for registration. The TeachNZ website includes information about Teaching Council approved teaching programmes.  Read more here.

Language requirements

For an overseas teacher to be registered or granted a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) you need to provide evidence that you meet the Education Council's language policy.

Police clearance

If you have lived for 12 months or more in any country other than New Zealand within the last 10 years, you will need a national police clearance certificate from that country that covers the entire period of time you lived there. Find out how to apply for a police clearance.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement

1.    Teachers who are lawfully eligible to practice in one of the States or Territories in Australia (this may be in the form of registration, membership or accreditation depending on the jurisdiction) may be eligible for a practising certificate under the provisions of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA) 1997. Teachers need to have an equivalent form of registration and therefore teachers holding a 'non-practising' category of registration in Australia are not eligible for registration and a practising certificate in New Zealand under the TTMRA.

2.    Teachers eligible to apply under this provision are not required to obtain an international qualifications assessment report from NZQA for their registration application (although a report may still be required for other purposes not related to registration such as applying for a visa, salary assessment for working in a school and licensing / funding requirements in the early childhood sector). They will need to provide evidence of holding current registration in the relevant category, with one of the following registration bodies with their application:

  • Queensland College of Teachers
  • Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
  • Victoria Institute of Teaching
  • Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania
  • Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia
  • Teachers Registration Board of the Northern Territory
  • ACT Teacher Quality Institute.
  • NSW Education Standards Authority

You will need to complete an EC15 application form and forward it to the Education Council, along with the registration fee, a certified copy of your current eligibility to be employed in a teaching position in Australia, and an Australian national police certificate.

Finding a teaching job in New Zealand

Schools and early childhood services are responsible for employing their own staff. There is no central staffing agency or government department responsible for staff placement.

You can apply directly to schools or centres.

All applications should be made to the employing school. In early childhood services, teachers are employed by the manager or owner of the service and you should apply to the employing centre.

You can also find work through the Ministry of Education’s preferred teacher recruitment agencies, which offer a free recruitment service to teachers.

Teaching positions are advertised in a range of ways including: