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Working towards full teacher certification

What you need to know about working toward full teacher certification in New Zealand

Primary teacher

When you graduate with an approved degree and/or teaching diploma you can begin moving towards full certification, a process that takes a minimum of two years.

To ensure that overall standards of teaching are maintained, there is the Code of Ethics for Certified Teachers and the Practising Teacher Criteria. Copies of The Education Council Code of Ethics for Certficated Teachers  can be found in every school or accessed from the Education Council website.

The Self Assessment Tool is a useful resource that can be used to assist in meeting the Practising Teacher Criteria. This can be obtained directly from the Education Council New Zealand website or can be download from this link.

Your professional status 

Your first two years as a provisionally certified teacher (PCT) are an extension of your pre-service teacher education. When a school appoints you to a permanent or fixed term position, it accepts the responsibility of providing you with an effective support programme of induction and mentoring / advice and guidance.  To teach in New Zealand schools you must hold a practising certificate. To obtain this certificate, you must apply to the Education Council New Zealand for provisional teacher certification.


Applying for provisional certification 

Apply for your provisional certification at the completion of your degree or teaching diploma. This could take six weeks or more. You will need to access and complete the TC1 form from the Education Council website

To complete this form you will need:

  • Record of education to date.
  • Police clearance.
  • Language proficiency (where applicable).
  • A certified copy of all qualifications.
  • The fee of NZD$220.80 (including GST).

Gaining provisional certification status 

When you gain provisional certification status you will receive:

  • Confirmation of your application with practising certificate card, classification (PCT).
  • Your teacher certification number.

Letters of appointment 

Once you are appointed, the school is legally required to send you a letter of appointment offering you the position and outlining the terms and conditions of your employment.

This should include:

  • Whether the position is permanent or fixed term.
  • Start date.
  • End date (if fixed term).
  • Hours of work (if part time).
  • Starting salary.

Your letter of appointment is a key document that needs to go into your documentation folder.

Your rights and responsibilities

As a provisionally certified teacher you have the right to expect a supportive environment in your school. You are entitled to undertake a two year planned induction and mentoring programme of professional learning. Your provisional status means you also have responsibilities when working towards full teachercertification. These include:

  • Effective teaching and assessment.
  • Communicating and reporting.
  • Organising time and workload.
  • Planning, preparing and recording.
  • Establishing a positive environment and relationships with students.
  •  Reflecting on practice.
  • Maintaining cooperative and effective working relationships with staff.
  • Implementing and maintaining policies, procedures and professional standards.
  • Attending meetings.
  • Engaging in professional learning as required.

Developing and maintaining partnerships with families/whānau.