How to become a teacher

Kaiwhakaako Māori giving high fives to learners

Study to become a teacher and share knowledge with future generations.

Are you looking for a career change because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your work?

There are good job opportunities for teachers in New Zealand.

You could study fees-free or get a scholarship to study with TeachNZ.

Early childhood teaching

Early childhood teachers educate and care for young children in kindergartens, childcare centres or kōhanga reo. Kōhanga reo kaiako also help children learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori (culture and customs).

To become an early childhood teacher you need one of the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
  • Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).

To become a kōhanga reo kaiako, you need one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Education (Whakaako) Early Childhood Education Whariki Papatipu (Level 7)
  • Heke Whakaakoranga (Level 5)
  • Poutuarongo Reo Māori (Level 7)
  • Te Tohu Paethai Whakaato Kōhungahunga (Te Reo Māori) (Level 7)
  • Whakapakarai Tino Rangatiratanga (Level 7).

School teaching

Primary school

Primary school teachers teach children between the ages of five and 13 at primary or intermediate schools.

To become a primary school teacher you need to have one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Education (Teaching)
  • Bachelor of Teaching (Primary or Māori Medium)
  • Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary).

Secondary school

Secondary school teachers plan, prepare and teach one or more subjects to students between the ages of 13 and 18.

To become a secondary school teacher you need to have one of the following:

  • a specialist subject degree followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) or a Master of Teaching (Secondary)
  • Bachelor of Education (Technology)
  • Bachelor of Teaching conjoint degree (a combination of teaching and specialist subjects).

Kaiwhakaako Māori

Kaiwhakaako Māori teach in te reo Māori at primary and secondary schools.

Outside the school system, kaiwhakaako Māori can teach trainee teachers in tertiary institutions or move into research and policy roles in the education sector.

Entry requirements for kaiwhakaako Māori vary depending on the type and level of school.

School support

Teacher aides support learners, from early childhood to secondary school.

You can become a teacher aide without a qualification. However, many employers prefer to hire teacher aides who have experience working with young people.

How to fund your study

TeachNZ scholarships

TeachNZ scholarships are available to anyone enrolled on, or planning to enrol on an approved Initial Teacher Education Programme. There are three opportunities for applicants to apply for a scholarship throughout the year, with the third and final round a chance for mid-year starters, and those who haven’t heard of the programme earlier, to apply.

465 TeachNZ scholarships are offered each year.

Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ

The Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ programme places recipients in secondary schools and funds them to gain an approved post-graduate qualification over two years while they still receive a salary.

Fees Free and StudyLink

You could get one year of study or two years of training for free if you meet the Fees Free programme eligibility criteria. However, you’ll need to fund the rest of the course yourself if it runs for longer.

If you need a student loan, get advice from StudyLink, your study or training provider, family/whānau or friends before applying as you’ll need to pay it back when you start working.

Find out more

Sources

  • Become a Teacher website, accessed July 2020, (www.becomeateacher.co.nz).
  • Ministry of Education, ‘Become a Teacher or Return to Teaching’, accessed July 2020, (www.education.govt.nz).
  • Teaching Council, ‘Studying to be a Teacher’, accessed July 2020, (www.teachingcouncil.nz).
  • TeachNZ, ‘Studying to be a Teacher’, accessed July 2020, (www.teachnz.govt.nz).

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Primary school teacher Nathan Crocker in his classroom

Why Nathan Crocker became a primary school teacher, and what he loves about it.

Updated 1 Sep 2020