A micro-credential is an award that is not a qualification. Micro-credentials are part of New Zealand’s regulated education and training system.

NZQA quality assured micro-credentials:

- are listed on the Qualifications and Credentials Framework

- can be developed by workforce development councils

- can be delivered by tertiary education providers, schools and kura

- can be up to 40 credits in size and at any level of the framework

- have learning outcomes

- have evidence of need from employers, industry, workforce development councils, iwi, and/or communities, as appropriate.

Developing and delivering micro-credentials

Workforce development councils, tertiary education providers, schools, and industry or other bodies can develop micro-credentials.

The requirements for micro-credentials to be listed and approved are set out in NZQA’s Rules. The Qualifications and Micro-credential Listing and Operational Rules 2022 cover the requirements for the micro-credential to be listed on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF). The Micro-credential Approval and Accreditation Rules 2022 cover the criteria for micro-credential approval.

Usually, a micro-credential developer will apply for listing and approval of a micro-credential together. A provider can also apply for listing, approval and accreditation to deliver the micro-credential in one application.

Delivering micro-credentials

Tertiary education providers and schools can apply for accreditation to deliver an approved micro-credential that is listed on the NZQCF.

The Micro-credential Approval and Accreditation Rules 2022 cover the criteria for providers to be accredited to deliver a micro-credential.

A provider can apply just for accreditation to deliver an approved micro-credential or can apply for accreditation at the same time as the listing and approval of a new micro-credential.

Stacking towards qualfications

Micro-credentials may be used as components of learning in programmes leading to qualifications, provided the overall design of the programme is coherent and meets the qualification outcomes and strategic purpose.

Programmes that include micro-credentials as components will be approved in accordance with the Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules. If you are developing micro-credentials specifically to be stacked, you should consider the programme requirements first.

Transitioning from Training Schemes to Micro-credentials

All approved training schemes are now being treated as micro-credentials, following amendment of the Education and Training Act 2020.

NZQA will not approve any new training schemes. Existing training schemes will continue until they are reviewed under the Micro-credential Approval and Accreditation Rules or retired.

We will notify you to establish a timeframe for reviewing existing training schemes to ensure they meet the requirements of the micro-credential rules.

This will likely require applying to change a training scheme to a micro-credential or applying for approval of a new micro-credential.

If you are not using your approval for an approved training scheme, email us at micro-credentials@nzqa.govt.nz and ask us to retire it. 

If you have a query about the transition of training schemes to micro-credentials, please contact us at micro-credentials@nzqa.govt.nz.

Micro-credential applications

Download an application form (DOCX, 80KB)

The form is supported by the guidelines for micro-credential listing, approval, and accreditation (interim consultation draft), which provide detailed information and guidance for applicants.

Applicants may request that Te Hono o Te Kahurangi quality assurance is used for assessment of the application.

Find more information about quality assurance of micro-credential applications under Te Hono o te Kahurangi

Listing, approval and accreditation

When applying for listing, approval and/or accreditation, you will need to provide the following information.

For listing

  • A suitable title (should not usually include “New Zealand”, “national”, “diploma”, “degree”, “bachelor”, “master”, “doctor”, “under-graduate” or “post-graduate” or the name of a person, organisation, or product)
  • The credit value and level (should not usually be more than 40 credits)
  • The NZSCED code
  • A purpose and outcome statement
  • The name of the appointed micro-credential developer
  • Any standards that are used (where there are suitable skill standards on the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards that fit with the listed purpose and outcome statement they must be included)
  • The period for ongoing review (usually 1-3 years).

For approval

  • The title (if not already provided)
  • Learning outcomes
  • The standards included (if not already provided)
  • Evidence of the need for the micro-credential and support of the relevant WDC and stakeholders (as appropriate)
  • Any requirements for admission, credit recognition and transfer, recognition of prior learning, length and structure, assessment methods, and completion
  • The process for regular review of the micro-credential.

For accreditation

  • The title of the micro-credential you are seeking accreditation for (if not already provided)
  • The delivery approach, showing how the delivery will meet the stated learning outcomes and the needs of intended learners, and is appropriate for the delivery modes
  • Evidence that the institution has the capability and capacity to ensure assessment materials and decisions are fair, valid, consistent and appropriate, and an effective system for moderation of assessment materials and decisions
  • Evidence the institution has the capability and capacity to deliver the micro-credential, including suitably qualified or experienced staff, facilities, educational and physical resources, and student support services
  • The process for reviewing the delivery of the micro-credential (including outcomes for students) and the institution’s capability to provide the micro-credential.
  • If standards are included in the micro-credential and you do not already hold consent to assess against those standards, you need to provide evidence of your ability to meet the consent and moderation requirements.

If you are thinking about delivering the micro-credential using Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding, we advise that you contact your TEC Relationship Manager or TEC's Customer Contact Group when preparing your application.

If you are applying for accreditation to deliver a micro-credential that includes standards from the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards (DASS), you do not need to apply for consent to assess separately. However, you will need to show that you meet the consent and moderation requirements (CMR) and have evidence of support from the WDC or Standard Setting Body (SSB), including a site visit waiver if applicable.

If you do not deliver a micro-credential for a 12-month period, your accreditation to deliver it will lapse. To reapply for accreditation contact qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

Changes to micro-credentials

You need to apply for a change to micro-credential approval if you make changes to the title, learning outcomes, the standards included in the micro-credential, or the requirements for admission, length and structure, assessment methods, or completion.

You need to apply for a change to micro-credential accreditation if you make changes to the delivery approach or assessment or moderation.

When applying for a change to approval or accreditation you will need to provide:

  • the title and NZQA reference number of the micro-credential
  • a summary of the proposed changes
  • a record of your internal approval
  • any other relevant documentation.

How to submit an application

  1. Login to the NZQA secure extranet.
  2. Login into your TEO profile.
  3. Create an application.
  4. Choose ‘other’. This takes you to an application overview. Include ‘micro-credential’ or ‘change to micro-credential’ in the title of the application.
  5. Click on Contact Details. The contact details page will be pre-populated with your organisation’s information. You should make any changes necessary to ensure the details are appropriate for the micro-credential.
  6. Follow the instructions and application template.
  7. On the supporting documents page, attach and upload the completed application form and other relevant information as described above for the application type.
  8. Submit the application.

An email acknowledging receipt of your application will be generated automatically and sent to you. If you do not receive an email acknowledging receipt, please contact qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

How much will it cost?

NZQA charges $190.00 (excluding GST) per hour for evaluation.

NZQA will send the applicant an invoice after the application has been processed.

Listed micro-credentials

Approved micro-credentials are listed on the Qualifications and Credentials Framework. You can view or search for approved micro-credentials in the register of NZQA-approved micro-credentials.

To remove a micro-credential, fill in the application form and:

Reviewing a micro-credential

Micro-credentials need to be reviewed regularly for currency and content. The delivery of a micro-credential also needs to be reviewed regularly.

The micro-credential developer proposes a review period of 1, 2, or 3 years when applying for micro-credential listing. Micro-credentials approved before 2023 have a 1-year review period by default.

The micro-credential developer will review the micro-credential with relevant stakeholders. The review will assess the micro-credential for currency and content, including if the relevant industry, employers or community still need it. The micro-credential should be updated according to any findings or recommendations from the review.

Providers also need to review their provision of a micro-credential. The review will assess outcomes for students and the institution’s capability to provide the micro-credential.

The processes for notifying NZQA of the review of a micro-credential or the review of micro-credential delivery are coming soon.

Reporting a micro-credential

When a learner has achieved a micro-credential, the provider can report their achievement to NZQA so it is displayed on their New Zealand Record of Achievement (NZRoA).

See more details on reporting a micro-credential

Further information

If you have any questions or would like further information, please email Approvals and Accreditation.


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