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How to Become a Nurse in New Zealand in 2021

Let’s say you’ve had this love for nursing and now you’ve decided to take a step towards making it a reality and your destination is New Zealand. Well, I’d like you to know that you can study and practice nursing in New Zealand effortlessly if you’re guided properly.

If you’re wondering if New Zealand is the right place then you might want to know that New Zealand is struggling with their health system due to shortage of nurses.

The New Zealand Government recently added aged care nurses to its long-term skill shortage list (LTSSL). The move should make it easier for nurses to gain working visas in New Zealand, helping rest homes and other aged care providers fill vacancies.

A career in Nursing can enrich your life and the lives of others every day. One reason why many people venture into nursing is because it gives a two-way fulfillment; You work while helping others heal.

In this post, you will discover all you need to know to become a nurse in New Zealand, the process and requirements needed to study nursing in New Zealand, the process of migrating to New Zealand as an international nurse and lots more.

So let’s get right to it !!!

How to Become a Nurse in New Zealand

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You know most people just venture into nursing and start sulking along the line, probably because they do not get satisfaction from the job or they are not just equipped for it. Nurses in New Zealand are required to possess these traits else you won’t be employed. These personal requirements are considered very paramount, they include;

  • Good communicating ability
  • Skilled at problem solving
  • Organised, with excellent time management
  • Able to work well under pressure and stay calm in emergencies
  • Able to keep personal information confidential
  • Kind, patient, tolerant and helpful
  • Able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
  • Have human empathy and passion for the job.


Just like other countries, requirements to study nursing differs from University to University, from college to college and most importantly the type of degree you’re pursuing. The Minimum requirements tool tip

If you’re Under 20 years of age, the following requirements will be needed for University Entrance,

  • NCEA Level 3 Three subjects made up of the following;
  • 14 credits each in three approved subjects preferably in Science Mathematics and English Literacy
  • 10 credits at Level 2 or above made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing Numeracy
  • 10 credits at Level 1 or above made up of specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects or unit standards package of three numeracy unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627. All three required.
  • An overseas qualification which is considered to be the equivalent of the above

If you are 20 years of age and above,

  • You must undergo NZQF level 4 training
  • If successful, You may be invited to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing degree programme


Studying nursing in New Zealand takes a period of 3 years to complete and the fee is usually $7,201 per annul and $21,602 for the 3 years.

Note: This is just for tuition, if you know you can’t afford it you should consider the scholarship schemes made available by the New Zealand Government.


Nursing is not cheap. I have to be real with you but New Zealand has made a provision for nursing to be read at an affordable rate yet with excellence and thorough equipping of students to become the best. So if you’re interested in studying nursing in New Zealand, here’s a list of universities YIU could look out for;

  • Auckland University of Technology
  • Massey University
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Manukau Institute of Technology
  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
  • Otago Polytechnic
  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Aside tuition I also think you should consider living expenses as its necessary.


Nursing on its own is a broad course with so many areas of specialization, which ranges from being a registered nurse, adult care nurse, children nurse, and more. As much as all these specializations are needed, there is more demand for registered nurses owing to the wide range of activities they perform I’m healthcare.

To become a registered nurse,

  • You must successfully complete a three-year Bachelor of Nursing degree (level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework) or a two-year graduate entry master’s degree (level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework).
  • Pass an assessment by an approved provider
  • Pass a Nursing Council of New Zealand examination for registered nurses.
  • Register with the Nursing Council of New Zealand.
  • Obtain a license that allows you to work anywhere in New Zealand.


Unlike in many other nations of the world, the need for nurses especially aged nurses in New Zealand is on high demand. The fact remains that the Government of New Zealand is accepting certified nurses from all over the world to practice in New Zealand.

So if your are thinking of migrating to New Zealand now is the right time and if you’re a nurse then this is the perfect time.

I understand you might not have all the information you need to successfully migrate to New Zealand but if you read on, them that problem will be fixed. Leta take a look at the process of migrating to New Zealand as an international nurse.

  • Get a nursing job: First you need to apply and get a nursing job in New Zealand. Of course this will. Make your immigration process easier. Getting the job ain’t means that New Zealand wants you. It’s only through the validation of a job will qualify you to obtain a visa.
  • Apply for a Visa: To apply for a Working Visa for New Zealand you need to hold an offer of employment for which you are qualified. As nurses are in such high demand in New Zealand, they fall into a special category. The Government has approved nursing as a long term skills shortage category and therefore, no check is made to see if suitable New Zealand citizens are available.

With a visa and an offer of employment you’re good to go, you can successfully enter a flight to New Zealand, obtain residency and start practice without disturbance.


Once you’ve made your way to New Zealand then you have to fulfill some criteria or requirements in order to work. As a nurse you need to affiliate yourself with nursing council of New Zealand I’m order to have a smooth sail in practice. In order to work in New Zealand as a nurse you will need to complete the following:

  • Obtain an offer of employment – liaise with your consultant.
  • Register with the New Zealand Nursing Council.
  • Obtain a police clearance and, in some cases, a medical and chest x-ray.
  • Obtain a practising certificate from the New Zealand Nursing Council.
  • Obtain a working visa.
  • Obtain a work permit on your passport upon entry to the country.
  • Obtaining Nursing Registration in New Zealand
  • Registration with an overseas regulatory authority AND
  • An equivalent international qualification or a pass in an assessment of the Council competencies for Registered Nurses by an approved provider AND/OR
  • Successfully completed a programme approved by the Council for the purpose of assessing competencies for Registered Nurses

You will need to demonstrate that you are registered with the New Zealand Nursing Council, NZNC, in order to obtain a work permit. The following information applies to registered nurses. Each nurse is assessed on an individual basis.

The process for overseas nurses (excluding nurses registered in all Australian states except Western Australia) takes about 12 weeks (if your paperwork is in order). You cannot apply for this over the counter. Once you are registered, the NZNC will send you application forms for the annual practising certificate.

This takes approx 7-10 days to be processed. You may apply for the practising certificate over the counter. A receipt will be issued to you and the certificate sent out to you after being printed. You are able to work using the receipt.


Of course it’s not worth it if you finally make your way to New Zealand and you will be receiving a meager income after a the stress and travel. We thought it wise to bring to your notice how much nurses earn in New Zealand as stated by the District Health Boards/New Zealand Nurses organization, ‘Multi-Employer Collective Agreement

The pay differed from location and the type of nurse you are, also pay for registered nurses varies depending on experience, duties and responsibilities.

  • Graduate enrolled nurses working for district health boards earn $49,000 a year.
  • Enrolled nurses with one to four years’ experience usually earn $51,000 to $57,000.
  • Graduate registered nurses earn $54,000 a year.
  • Registered nurses with three to seven years’ experience usually earn $62,000 to $77,000.
  • Senior registered nurses with more experience and responsibility usually earn $79,000 to $130,000.

What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Nurse In New Zealand?

Like earlier stated, there’s a call for New Zealand to recruit nurses from the United Kingdom and from all around the world. This is being supported by a chronically understaffed industry which is putting patients and nurses at risk.

International nurses must apply to the Nursing Council to practice in New Zealand. It has a number of requirements to ensure nurses seeking registration in New Zealand have educational equivalency.

The requirements include proof of identity, passing an English language test, a relevant qualification, current overseas registration, at least two years’ post-registration experience, two years’ nursing practice in the last five, demonstration of fitness for registration as a nurse and many nurses will need to successfully complete a Competency Assessment Programme.

How To Become a Nurse In New Zealand FAQ

How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse In New Zealand?

Becoming a registered nurse in New Zealand requires nursing students to complete a three-year bachelor of nursing degree. A bachelor of nursing degree holder will be placed on level seven New Zealand Qualifications Authority Framework. Alternatively, you can go for a 

two-year graduate-entry master’s degree. Which is considered to be level 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Are Nurses In Demand In New Zealand?

Yes, skilled and experienced registered nurses are in demand in New Zealand. The demand is expected to grow as a result of the increase in the need for nursing care as the popular ages, demand for registered nurses will increase due to the 50% of nurses that will be due to retire from now till 2035, as estimated by the New Zealand Nursing organization.

Conclusion: How To Become A Nurse In New Zealand

Registered nurses in New Zealand have the opportunity to practice in a vast range of nursing practice areas, depending on the type of organization, you can work as a nurse practitioner, nurse researcher, nurse manager or nurse in education. Whichever area you decide to work in, what matters most is that you become a qualified nurse first. 


Here are some of our recommended posts you can check out alongside this post.

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Iroh Grace
Iroh Grace Onyinyechi is a Pro Copywriter and an SEO content writer with over 5 years working experience. She is highly skilled in developing contents for Blogs, E-books, Academic researches and Sales Copies for different Products and Services. She is also an expert in creating Professional CV's, resumè, and cover letters that will land you your dream job, scholarship, and such other applications. Possessing great organizational skill, research analytics and zero tolerance for errors, her work is highly rated and produces desired results. Contents written by Iroh Grace Onyinyechi are known to be plagiarism-free, organized and communicates effectively to readers; her information is second to none. Do you need a first class Content writer who would deliver on any of the niches stated above? , then Iroh Grace Onyinyechi is always at your service to deliver top quality in time. Call or Chat me on WhatsApp +2348188857434


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