This programme has been developed in response to a need for a programme that leads to a qualification in providing disability support. It will be suitable for students who have a related health qualification or experience and want to enter the disability support sector in New Zealand.

The programme equips the students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to work in the areas of promoting health, wellness, social support, and disability support. Jobs may include Community Worker, Disabilities Services Officer, Family Support Worker, Residential Care Officer, or Youth Worker. They may be working in corrections, or probation, intellectual disability settings, physical disability support settings, learning disability support settings, dementia support settings, or mental health settings. The target learner group will be mature international and domestic students who have a tertiary qualification in a health field and/or one year experience in a health role.

Several employment pathways are included in the list of skilled occupations that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of Immigration New Zealand.  (INZ Operational Manual - Appendix 6, Skill Level 2 Qualifications). Skill Shortage List Checker: Disabilities Services Officer and Other Related Occupations

This is not a pathway in gaining New Zealand registration in occupations such as Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Medicine and Dentistry, Occupational Therapy and others.

  • 76 weeks full time study (including breaks and holidays)
  • 20 hours per week (2.5 days) of study in a class or workplace setting
  • 12 hours per week of self directed study
  • The programme consists of four semesters which include classroom-based learning, self directed learning and some workplace training. The modules or components are each delivered across six weeks.
  • The components for semester one are about culturally safe communication in support, ethics and vulnerability, and knowledge in support. Semester two looks at New Zealand health and wellbeing. The components for semester two are about independence support, determinants of health, and te ao Maori. It includes a 5-week practicum to complete the level three learning.

  • Semester three is about evidence-based practice. The components are cultural sensitivity, evidence-based plans and models, and evidence-based assessment tools. Semester four is about support for aspirations.
  • The components are self-practice development, barriers to aspirations, and identification of aspirations. A four-week practicum is included for the application of knowledge of health and wellbeing aspirations. This will also introduce the student to the job demands of the roles to which they may aspire.


  • Students must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Students must provide a current Police Certificate.
  • Work experience in the health sector is preferred but not essential.
  • Students not required to have an IELTS or equivalent test will be required to have a selection interview.

Domestic Students and New Zealand Curriculum Aligned Countries

  • Minimum academic requirements equivalent to 48 NCEA credits at level 2 (including a minimum of 12 numeracy credits at level 1 or higher, and 50 credits at level 2 or above with at least 12 credits in each of three subjects including a minimum of 8 literacy credits at level 2 or higher in English; 4 credits must be in reading and 4 credits must be in writing).
  • Students may also have a qualification in health which may be a National Certificate / New Zealand certificate at levels two or three, and/or work experience in a health field for a minimum of one year.

International Students

  • Students must possess the appropriate immigration document.
  • Students must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance.
  • Authenticated International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall score of 5.5 with no band lower than 5.0 (Academic Module) from an official testing centre or an equivalent as specified in Rule 18 of the Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2013.
  • Tertiary qualification from a programme of study in a health or science field and/or at least one year of work experience in a health field. Healthcare professionals who interact with patients are preferred.
  • Additional language instruction may be required once internal language testing has taken place at the Auckland site.


  • Fee information may be found in the Programme Summary or the Programme Handbook.
  • Student loans and allowances for potential domestic students are currently not available for this programme.

Up to date information on entry requirements for professional associations or specific employment opportunities will be made available to students during enrolment.

You may be allowed to work for up to 20 hours each week during the academic year. You may also be allowed to work full time during the Christmas and New Year period at the end of each academic year. To work you will need to apply for a variation of conditions to your student visa. One criteria for student to be allowed to work is that the student is undertaking a programme of study in New Zealand that leads to a New Zealand qualification that qualifies for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of Immigration New Zealand’s Residence Instructions.

More information on working while studying may be obtained from the Immigration New Zealand website at See also Student Visa Guide

  • Achieve competency in all assessments
  • Gain all 190 credits in total
  • Have an overall attendance record of at least 80%

190 credits

Every 6 weeks.

New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Practice/Applied Practice) (Level 5)

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services)(Level 3) with strands in Support Work

You may be eligible for a one-year work permit under the Post-Study Work Visa Open Category (“Job Search Visa”).

  • Employment paths may include:
    • Community Worker (ANZSCO Code 411711)
    • Parole and Probations Officer (ANZSCO Code 411712)
    • Disabilities Services Officer (ANZSCO Code 411713)
    • Family Support Worker (ANZSCO Code 411714)
    • Residential Care Officer (ANZSCO Code 411715)
    • Youth Worker (ANZSCO Code 411716)
  • Potential NZ work and residency pathways

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