How to Become a Nurse in New Zealand in 2023| A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Registered Nurse in New Zealand


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, you might want to know that New Zealand is struggling with its health system due to a shortage of nurses.


The New Zealand Government recently added aged care nurses to its long-term skill shortage list (LTSSL). The change should make it easier for nurses to obtain work visas in New Zealand, assisting rest homes and other aged care providers in filling vacancies.

A career in nursing can enrich your life and the lives of others every day. Many people venture into nursing because it gives a two-way sense of 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 !!!

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How to Become a Nurse in New Zealand

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Traits That Distinguish You as a Nurse in New Zealand

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

  • Good communicating ability
  • Skilled at problem-solving
  • Organized, 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.

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Requirements to Study Nursing in New Zealand

Like in other countries, the requirements to study nursing differ from university to university, from college to college, and most importantly, depending on the degree you’re pursuing. The Minimum requirements tooltip

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 are required.
  • An overseas qualification that 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 enroll in the Bachelor of Nursing degree program

How Much does it Cost to Study Nursing in New Zealand?

Studying nursing in New Zealand takes 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.

Affordable Universities Offering Nursing in New Zealand

Nursing is not cheap. To be honest, New Zealand has made a provision for nursing to be read at an affordable rate while also providing excellent 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 from tuition, you should consider living expenses as necessary.

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How do I Become a Registered Nurse in New Zealand?

Nursing is a broad field with many areas of specialization, ranging from being a registered nurse to an adult care nurse to a children’s nurse. As much as all these specializations are needed, there is an even greater demand for registered nurses owing to the wide range of activities they perform in healthcare.

To become a registered nurse,

  • You must 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.

How do I Migrate to New Zealand as an International Nurse?

Unlike in many other nations of the world, the need for nurses, especially older nurses, is high in New Zealand. 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 you are migrating to New Zealand, now is the right time, and if you’re a nurse, then this is a perfect time.

I understand you might not have all the information you need to migrate to New Zealand successfully, but if you read on, that problem will be fixed. Leta looks 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 isn’t mean that New Zealand wants you. Only through the validation of a job will you qualify 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. Nurses are in such high demand in New Zealand, so they fall into a special category. The Government has approved nursing as a long-term skills shortage category; therefore, no check is made to see if suitable New Zealand citizens are available.

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

Requirements to Work in New Zealand as a Nurse

Once you’ve made your way to New Zealand, you must fulfill some criteria or requirements to work. As a nurse, you need to affiliate yourself with the Nursing Council of New Zealand to have smooth sailing in practice. 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, sometimes, a medical and chest x-ray.
  • Obtain a practicing 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
  • Completed a program approved by the Council to assess the competencies of Registered Nurses

You must demonstrate that you are registered with the New Zealand Nursing Council, NZNC, 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 registered, the NZNC will send you application forms for the annual practicing certificate.

Processing time is approximately 7-10 days. You may apply for the practicing certificate over the counter. A receipt will be issued, and the certificate will be sent out to you after being printed. You can work using the receipt.

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How much do Nurses Earn in New Zealand?

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

The pay differs 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 of experience usually earn $51,000 to $57,000.
  • Graduate registered nurses earn $54,000 a year.
  • Registered nurses with three to seven years of 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?

As 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 that is putting patients and nurses at risk.

International nurses must apply to the Nursing Council to practice in New Zealand. It has several 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 complete a Competency Assessment Programme successfully.

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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 can 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. 

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