Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

In recent years, entry to this profession has become very competitive with supply outstripping demand. This situation is unlikely to change significantly during the next five years. The chances of getting a job as a teacher are better for those who teach a shortage subject, are speakers of Māori and Pasifika languages, or work in isolated rural schools or low socio-economic locations. The long-term demand for teachers is expected to grow slowly but steadily.

The increasing focus on the value of early childhood education, and the increasing participation of women in the workforce are factors that improve job prospects for this occupation. The demand for early childhood teachers who are speakers of Māori and Pasifika languages is particularly strong.

How to become a teacher

What they do

Early childhood teachers teach the basics of numeracy, literacy, music, art and literature to pre-primary students. They also assist in  their students’ social, emotional, and physical development. These teachers work in early childhood education (ECE) services such as kindergartens, kōhanga reo or education and care centres.

Primary school teachers teach children aged between 5 and 13 years of age at primary or intermediate schools.

Secondary school teachers teach one or more curriculum subject areas to students of about 13 to 18 years of age at secondary schools.

Their tasks may include:

  • selecting, preparing and presenting courses, teaching materials and lessons suited to the abilities of the students
  • correcting and assessing students' work
  • attending to the social, emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing of students and maintaining acceptable standards of behaviour
  • assessing the abilities and level of achievement of students through direct observation and administering tests
  • discussing individual progress and problems with other professionals, parents and students
  • performing extra-curricular tasks such as assisting with sport, school concerts, excursions and special interest programs
  • supervising student teachers on placement
  • maintaining attendance and scholastic records, and school discipline.

Qualifications needed

To become a qualified early childhood teacher, you need one of the following:

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

To become a qualified kōhanga reo kaiako, you need:

  • a Tino Rangatiratanga Whakapakari Tohu (kōhanga reo teaching qualification) and
  • a Bachelor of Education (Whakaako) Early Childhood Education Whāriki Papatipu from Victoria University in Wellington.

To enter the Tino Rangatiratanga Whakapakari Tohu you will also need the National Certificate in te Reo Māori (Level 5) or equivalent. The Bachelor of Education qualification is the only kōhanga reo teaching qualification that leads to registration by the New Zealand Education Council.

Education Council:

Primary teachers require one of these:

  • a three-year Diploma of Teaching
  • a three-year Bachelor of Education (Teaching)
  • a bachelor’s degree and a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching.

Secondary school teachers require either:

  • a specialist subject degree followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)
  • a combined specialist subject degree and secondary teaching qualification.

Secondary teachers also need to train to teach in at least two curriculum areas.

All teachers also need to be registered with the Education Council of New Zealand.

Cost of study

Bachelor of TeachingGraduate Diploma of Teaching
$18,100 over three years $7,500 over one year

Approximate costs in 2017 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

There are a number of teacher-training providers throughout New Zealand. Many provide distance learning. TeachNZ publishes a summary of providers.


The Ministry of Education grants a number of scholarships to those who would like to train as early childhood teachers.



Newly qualified teachers must become provisionally registered with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. They gain full registration after at least two years’ satisfactory work as a teacher. Once fully registered, teachers are issued with a practising certificate, renewable every three years.

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing the graduate diploma in teacher education was around declined to 2016 but may be picking up again.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects

Base salaries
Primary $50,470 with bachelor's teaching degree $75,200 with seven years' experience
Secondary $52,736 registered teacher with Level 7 qualification $80,500 with seven years' experience

Source: Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, and Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement.

The table outlines the 2019 base salary rates.

Teachers may take on management or specialist roles, such as head of department, curriculum specialist, or leading teachers of a particular year-group. These roles are paid additional remuneration - often through one or more “units” (these are allowances worth $4,000 per year).

An early childhood teacher’s income varies according to their qualifications, experience and place of work. Often, pay is individually negotiated with the private or independent education and care centres. Those with a Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching start on about $45,000 and can reach about $60,000 a year.

Early childhood teachers with a three-year degree earn between $47,000 and $71,000. Those with a four-year degree can start at about $48,000 and progress to a maximum of about $76,000 after seven years. Early childhood teachers with leadership roles (such as head teachers) earn up to  $98,000 a year, depending on the number of children and staff.

Teachers who teach in schools that are hard to staff may earn an extra $3,500 in their third, fourth and fifth years under the government’s voluntary bonding Scheme.[1]

Employment and skill shortages

Teachers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
66,939 77,550 67,823 78,742
  2.1% 1.8% 1.3%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the category “School Teachers”

Teaching is one of the largest occupations in New Zealand. The number of school teachers grew at 2.1% annually between 2006 and 2013, and employment is expected to keep growing at 1.8% until 2022, and 1.3% until 2028.

Although there is a steady supply of teachers overall, there are shortages in Māori language education and some areas of specialist education. There are also shortages in some other subject areas, and in some rural and low socio-economic locations.

Demand for secondary teachers in specialist areas fluctuates with changes in student demand. However, all secondary schools employ a number of teachers in core subjects like English, mathematicss and science.

Secondary teachers improve their job prospects if they teach a core subject along with one or two specialist topics.

Employment chart


Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
9% 14% 2% 83% $49,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Education.

The vast majority of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in teacher education are in employment three years after graduation, with some overseas and some in further study. The median salary at that point is $49,000.

Teachers are on Immigration New Zealand’s Regional skill shortage lists, for all regions. If a job is on the list, it indicates that the government is actively encouraging skilled workers in those occupations to work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Most public teaching vacancies are advertised through the Education Gazette. Private teaching vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Education Gazette:
Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

School teachers may progress up to senior and management roles, for example:

  • school/college principal
  • dean
  • syndicate leader or head of department.

Career options for early childhood education (ECE) teachers include leadership roles of kindergartens or ECE centres (for example, head teachers), or management roles across a several kindergartens or ECE centres, or within associations or private providers. ECE teachers may also move into youth/community work, policy work and teacher education.

Careers that can be followed outside the school system include:

  • teaching trainee teachers in tertiary institutions
  • doing research, policy or advisory work in the education sector
  • working in training and education roles in business.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level teachers.

  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Kaiwhakaako Māori
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Private Teacher/Tutor
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Teacher Aide
  • Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Tertiary Lecturer
  • Trainer

Other information


More information on teachers is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:

More detail on teacher pay and qualifications is available from the Ministry of Education’s website.

Ministry of Education, teacher salary and allowances:

Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Early Childhood Teacher (Kaiako) Te Puna Reo
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Early Childhood Teaching
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Resource Teacher in Learning and Behaviour
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Secondary School Teacher
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Kura Kaupapa Primary Teacher
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - Performing Arts Teacher
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Teaching - School Principal


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of teachers has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

2233 – Training and Development Professionals
241 – School Teachers
242 – Tertiary Education Teachers
249 – Miscellaneous Education Professionals
4221 – Education Aides