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New Zealand Certificates in English Language (NZCEL)

New Zealand Certificates in English Language (NZCEL) qualifications are nationally recognised qualifications intended for learners of English as an additional language, who have successfully completed NZQA approved programmes delivered in New Zealand.

NZCEL is a new national qualification for English language for migrants and international students. It replaces the many different certificates that had been available in NZ and aims to provide a single, high quality, widely accepted, English language qualification through New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

By the end of 2015, all English language certificates in New Zealand will be replaced with NZCEL. The NZCEL will be available at Waikato Institute of Education (WIE) from February, 2015.


  • NZCEL is a new, national qualification in English language with 6 levels of qualifications ranging from a Level 1 Certificate to a Level 5 Certificate. The levels include Foundation, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

  • Qualifications are available to all parts of the English language sector: secondary, tertiary, community, and for permanent and temporary residents, and international students.

  • NZCEL provides a clear pathway to progress through your studies or your career. [progress through to further studies, work and residence in New Zealand and overseas.] You’ll gain a nationally recognized and credible qualification issued by the *New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) that will make it easier to transfer to New Zealand schools, higher academic institutes, or employment.
    o For more information on NZQA visit http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/

  • All NZCEL certificates include intensive practical and academic English and are flexible enough to to have a wide range of syllabus designs.
    • Most students should take 16 - 17 weeks full-time to complete each certificate level. Certificates are worth 60 credits each.

  • Certificate courses are open to domestic and international students.

NZCEL Certificate approval and accreditation

To offer NZCEL qualifications, New Zealand Language schools, High schools, polytechnics, and universities must be approved and accredited by NZQA. This guarantees that NZCEL certificate qualifications authorized by the government have clear and consistent aims, standardized content units, and assessment grading throughout New Zealand

Waikato Institute of Education is NZQA approved and authorized to deliver both the General and Academic streams of NZCEL certification.

What are the benefits of this new set of New Zealand qualifications?

  • Transferability of qualifications between New Zealand schools and colleges
    o [Direct Entry to certificate, diploma and degree programmes in NZ]
    • *No IELTS or other exam needed for entry into mainstream certificate, diploma

  •  and degree programmes in NZ [conditions apply]

  • Credible qualifications and a recognised pathway for learning

  • A simple framework offering clear choices for learning

  • Opportunity to select the most relevant learning context

  • Enhanced ability to select providers offering nationally recognised qualifications
    o [Nationally recognized standard of English]

Equivalent Recognized English Language Qualifications, please visit English Language Requirements for Tertiary Studies in New Zealand



Waikato Institute of Education
Address: Level 1, Tower Building, 48
Ward Street,
PO Box 773, Hamilton, New Zealand
Phone: 64 - 7 - 8382450   Fax: 64 - 7 - 838 2453