Registration of a new Private Training Establishment

A private training establishment (PTE) provides tertiary education or vocational training. It is separate to institutions (i.e. polytechnic, university, wānanga).

PTEs are covered by and must comply with sections 350-387 of the Education and Training Act 2020 and the Private Training Establishment Registration Rules 2021.

What can a PTE do?

An education organisation that is registered as a PTE can apply to:

  • have and deliver NZQA-approved programmes, training schemes and micro-credentials
  • deliver assessment standards listed on the Directory of Assessment Standards
  • develop and list an NZQA-approved New Zealand qualification.

Some government agencies will only fund training towards NZQA-approved qualifications, programmes and training schemes.

Provider categories and your PTE

New PTEs do not have a category until they have been through an external evaluation and review (EER).

Following an EER, NZQA gives the PTE a category from one (highest) to four (lowest).

Some NZQA applications are only open to category 1 and 2 providers.

See provider categories for more information.

Can I enrol international students?

A PTE can apply to become a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021.

See the Code of Practice guidelines for more information.

This approval can be withdrawn by NZQA.

What obligations does a PTE have?

PTEs must initially meet and continue to meet NZQA criteria for registration and any relevant NZQA Rules. See Maintaining PTE registration for more information.

All PTEs must also:

Specific requirements for PTE registration

Areas with specific requirements include:

  • providing and updating fit and proper person forms and conflicts of interest declarations for governing members
  • making the required statutory declarations and annual returns to NZQA
  • paying an annual fee to NZQA
  • keeping records of enrolments, student achievement and assessments
  • maintaining suitable facilities, equipment, staff and student resources
  • providing pastoral care and services for students
  • developing the capability of staff
  • managing and adding suitable delivery sites
  • sub-contracting training to another education organisation
  • handling student complaints and requests for refunds
  • having arrangements for student fee protection
  • continued financial viability
  • meet any government regulations and legislation that applies to the training they provide (i.e. health and safety, professional or vocational standards).

Some of these policies and procedures might be included in the PTE’s quality management system.

Create a quality management system (QMS)

A quality management system (QMS) shows how your PTE operates. The QMS must include all your PTE's policies and procedures.

The policies and procedures should be complete and understandable, and be consistently applied within your PTE. Your QMS should also cover all relevant aspects of any applicable legislation, rules and regulations. This makes it a management tool you use every day.

Looking at your QMS should show someone unfamiliar with your PTE your organisational structure, culture, and the way you deliver education and training.

See the Guidelines for registration as a PTE for what a QMS needs to cover.

What does a QMS look like?

It may be one large document that covers all aspects of your organisation or several documents that cross-reference each other: i.e.

  • Charter document
  • Health and safety manual
  • Tutor manual
  • Administration manual

Either way, you will need a robust document control system in place to keep it up-to-date.

A QMS needs to reflect actual practice

A QMS might meet all requirements but is not put into practice. On the other hand, an organisation may have very good informal systems that are not documented.

How do I develop a QMS?

You choose how to design and record your QMS. It should be appropriate to the size, nature, complexity, and where relevant, to the tikanga and kawa of the organisation.

The design may change as you review your QMS and the organisation matures.

How do I keep my QMS up-to-date?

You must review your QMS regularly to ensure it remains up-to-date.

It is important that you have a plan for reviewing your QMS and review it regularly. Your QMS may also need to be updated outside of formal review cycles: i.e.

  • A smaller organisation might have one copy of the QMS in circulation, which is amended manually and updated every six months.
  • A larger organisation may decide to review its full QMS over a number of years.
  • Some parts may be reviewed more frequently and in more depth.
  • New procedures may have a shorter review cycle initially to ensure any initial problems can be fixed.

Make your QMS easy to access and use

Everyone in your PTE must be able to refer to your QMS to find information on procedures. It must be usable and accessible, either electronically or physically.

Give staff a way to provide feedback if they find an error or they have suggestions to improve a process.

What if I want to deliver or assess against assessment standards?

PTEs that deliver and assess standards must engage with the standard setting body for each standard.

Each standard is covered by a Consent and Moderation Requirements document that details what an organisation needs to do to get consent to assess a standard, and what that organisation needs to do to maintain consent.

This includes taking part in the moderation system for each standard.

Ongoing requirements for NZQA-approved items

Once a PTE has approved programmes, training schemes, micro-credentials or listed qualifications, the PTE must continue to meet all the approval or listing criteria.

If the criteria are not met, NZQA can withdraw approval for that item and/or consent to assess a standard on the Directory of Assessment Standards.

See the guidelines for each item for the criteria and requirements.

Can I end or lose my registration?

To maintain registration as a PTE you need to deliver at least one NZQA-approved programme or training scheme to enrolled students every 12 months. If you cannot show you have done this, your registration will automatically lapse.

Voluntary de-registration

A PTE can request NZQA to cancel their registration at any time and for any reason.

Involuntary de-registration

NZQA may find some issues with your PTE through quality assurance processes, routine monitoring or complaints made about your PTE.

If NZQA finds significant, ongoing or urgent issues with your PTE, NZQA will give you a chance to address each issue through an action plan.

These issues could relate to:

  • programmes
  • assessment practice
  • moderation
  • financial viability
  • student fee protection
  • Code of Practice and legal breaches
  • other quality or legal issues.

If there are multiple and/or significant issues remaining, NZQA may notify you that the PTE’s registration is being cancelled. You will have a certain amount of time to give a response before NZQA takes any further action.

Guidelines for PTE registration

The Guidelines for registration as a PTE outline what NZQA considers when evaluating applications for registration, and what evidence the PTE needs to provide in an application.

The guidelines provide PTEs with a single document that integrates guidance about:

How do I become a PTE?

NZQA considers each application for registration as a PTE against the criteria in the Guidelines for PTE registration (see above).

NZQA needs to be certain that a PTE will be governed and managed with integrity, and will provide high quality education and a sound and stable learning environment.

How do I apply for PTE registration?

Before submitting an application for PTE registration, check the requirements in the Guidelines for PTE Registration and the Private Training Establishment Registration Rules 2021.

Submit appropriate supporting information

Submit sufficient and relevant supporting information and/or documents with your application. NZQA can then make a robust and informed decision about your application.

NZQA will review your application when we receive it to ensure it includes all the relevant documents.

If key documents are missing or incomplete, NZQA will ask you to resubmit the information within an agreed timeframe.

If NZQA does not receive the information within the given timeframe, we can close the application and return all the documents to you.

The application process

The application for registration must be made by your governing body.

  1. Download from the NZQA website: the PTE Registration Rules 2021, the guidelines for registration as a PTE and the PTE registration application form (DOC, 237KB).
  2. Advise NZQA that your organisation is preparing an application for PTE registration (email Approvals and Accreditation).
  3. Complete the registration application and attach supporting documentation, including a Statutory declaration as a fit and proper person and of conflicts of interests form (DOCX, 72KB) (DOCX, 845KB) for each proposed governing member.
  4. Consider what other applications you will need to submit in the first year of registration.
  5. Submit application(s) to NZQA for evaluation (the signed application and statutory declaration form in hard copy and any supporting documents in hard or electronic format).
  6. Pay a deposit of $750 GST inclusive to NZQA, when invoiced. This will be deducted from the final bill when the evaluation is finished.

If you have questions about this process contact Client Services

What is the evaluation process?

NZQA decides whether or not to grant an application for registration on a case-by-case basis. NZQA makes a thorough analysis of each application to determine whether it satisfies, or will satisfy, the applicable criteria and statutory requirements.

NZQA will keep you informed as the application moves through the evaluation process detailed below.

Diagram showing the process for Private Training Establishment registration.

How long does it take?

NZQA will complete the analysis within four to eight months.

This includes finalising the registration if NZQA approves the application.

How much does it cost?

NZQA charges $190 per hour (plus GST) for analysis of an application, plus travel and other expenses for the registration site visit.

These charges will apply whether your application for registration is approved or declined.

Ongoing costs of registration

Following registration, there are ongoing costs such as the Annual Registration Fee and charges for quality assurance services, including analysis of applications, external evaluation and review, and credit reporting fees.

See Maintaining PTE Registration for more information.

Further information

If you have any questions or require further information, contact  Client Services.

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us