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Welcome to New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL)

The New Zealand Certificate 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 national qualification for English language for migrants, international, and domestic 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).


  • NZCEL is a national qualification in English language with 7 levels ranging from a Level 1F Certificate to a Level 5 Certificate. The levels include 1 Foundation, 1, 2, 3 General, 3 Applied, 4, and 5.
  • Qualifications are available to all parts of the English language sector: secondary, tertiary, community, and for permanent or temporary residents, and international students.
  • NZCEL provides a clear pathway to progress through to further studies, work, and residence in New Zealand and overseas.
  • All NZCEL certificates include intensive practical and academic English and are flexible enough to have a wide range of syllabus designs.
  • Most students should take 17 weeks full-time to complete each certificate level. Certificates are worth 60 credits each.
  • Certificate courses are open to domestic and international students.

Study Benefits at WIE:

  • Start ANY Monday
  • 3 terms available per year
  • Complete a level in only 17 weeks
  • Small classes mean you get more individual attention
  • Use the best textbooks as recommended by NZ’s top educators
  • City centre campus close to shops, cafes, library, and transport centre
  • ‘Real-life’ experiences through hosted social activities that compliment unit topics
  • A total immersion ‘English Only’ learning environment with a good mix of international learners from around the world.
  • Instructed by fully qualified, native English speakers, most with over 15 years teaching experience. WIE has an excellent pool of certified examiners on staff, including those with Cambridge, IELTS, OET, and TOEIC experience.

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 authorised by the government have clear and consistent aims, standardised content units, and assessment grading throughout New Zealand.

Waikato Institute of Education is NZQA approved and authorised to deliver the NZCEL Certification.

What are the benefits of these qualifications?

  • Transferability of qualifications among New Zealand schools and colleges
  • Direct entry to certificate, diploma and degree programmes in NZ
  • No IELTS or other exams needed for entry into mainstream certificate or diploma and degree programmes in NZ (conditions apply)
  • Credible qualifications and a recognised pathway for learning
  • A simple framework offering clear choices in learning
  • Opportunity to select the most relevant learning context
  • Enhanced ability to select providers offering nationally recognised qualifications


You’ll gain a nationally recognised 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 gain employment.

NZCEL Levels at WIE

WIE offers 7 levels of NZCEL from Levels 1F to Level 5. The NZCEL General Course includes Levels 1 Foundation to Level 3, Level 3 Applied, and NZCEL Academic Course for Levels 4 and 5. Each level consists of 60 credits.

  • Level 1 Foundation
  • Level 1 General
  • Level 2 General
  • Level 3 General
  • Level 3 Applied
  • Level 4 Academic
  • Level 5 Academic

Entry Requirements

Students enrolling for NZCEL course sit our placement test on arrival, and are then placed in the appropriate class according to their assessed English language level.

Entry is open to applicants 18 years of age or older.

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