Tertiary education & training

In New Zealand tertiary education covers all education after secondary school, so it includes both higher education and vocational training.

Education at a tertiary level is widely available in New Zealand. There are providers in each of the main centres and many satellite campuses in smaller areas. 

Almost 15% of adults were taking part in some kind of study at the time of the last census, according to figures released by the Statistics Department in 2015. Nearly four out of five New Zealanders now have formal qualifications.

Education is a lifelong habit for many New Zealanders and retraining later in life or just studying for personal interest is common. The student population includes people from age 15 right up to 65+. 

Students studying

Distance learning

Online and flexible learning options can increase the range of courses available

Read the article

Check our Study in NZ section to find out more about:

  • where and what you can study
  • domestic and international fees
  • the quality and international recognition of our qualifications
  • what daily life as a student is like in New Zealand.

See the regional Education pages for a list of tertiary institutions.

Study in NZ


Fees and associated costs

New Zealand resident visa holders are classified as domestic students in New Zealand so only pay local fees for tertiary education. 

New Zealand citizens are eligible to apply for Student Loans, the Student Allowance and the Fees Free policy when they begin studying. However, New Zealand residents need to have lived in New Zealand for at least three years before they are eligible.​


New Zealand offers lots of options to train for trades and other occupations.

You can often do vocational training (training for a particular trade or type of job) while you are working, perhaps as part of an apprenticeship. Vocational training is also available at many secondary schools, alongside core academic subjects.

Training qualifications are developed and managed by industry groups called Industry Training Organisations (ITOs). There are over 30 of them in New Zealand, covering a large range of industries including service, manufacturing, primary industries (like agriculture), and trades.

The careers.govt.nz website has an excellent summary of the workplace training and apprenticeship opportunities available in New Zealand. It can also suggest which ITO you should contact if you are looking at doing workplace training or getting a New Zealand Apprenticeship.

Workplace training and apprenticeships | careers.govt.nz

Workplace and industry training contacts | careers.govt.nz

Study in New Zealand

New Zealand apprenticeships

In New Zealand, all apprentice training comes under a programme called New Zealand Apprenticeships. It approves all apprenticeships and helps maintain standards. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) website has more information on the programme.

The TEC also has a register of apprenticeships you can use to find out what apprenticeships are available and which ITO you should contact.

New Zealand Apprenticeships | TEC

Adult and community education

Outside formal education courses, New Zealand offers a wide range of informal opportunities for education. This is often known as ACE - adult and community education. ACE courses can help you with anything from improving your English or ability with numbers to developing new skills like computing or understanding how New Zealand civil society works.

Many Universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics offer ACE courses. ACE courses are also offered by community providers and delivered in church halls, local schools, and even people’s homes.

See our regional education pages for information about the ACE opportunities where you live.


Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.


Is there anything wrong with this page?

Page last updated: 14/01/2019

Help us improve New Zealand Now

Your feedback is very important in helping us improve the New Zealand Now website. Please don’t include any personal or financial information.