From university degrees to cadetships and diploma-level study, there are so many ways to begin your journey as an engineer. Explore which option might suit you best.

Each of the formal study pathways listed here lead to world-class qualifications that are accredited by Engineering New Zealand. They open doors to work and professional recognition both in New Zealand and overseas.

For further information on engineering career opportunities, visit the Careers NZ website.

New Zealand Diploma in Engineering

Why a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering – (NZDE)?

For students who want to progress quickly into civil, electrical, fire or mechanical engineering work, Diploma-level study is a great option. It can also be used as a great foundation for progression to further degrees in engineering and engineering technology.

Eligibility and where to study 

School leavers who have achieved at least 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 in four subjects, including at least 12 credits in maths, are eligible to pursue the NZDE. The qualification is also open to students with appropriate trades training and/or demonstrated skills and experience.

Most campuses within the Te Pūkenga (New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology) network offer the NZDE, which can be studied full-time, part-time or by distance learning.

Learn more about the NZDE Level 6

Note: Graduates of the NZDE can also enter the Bachelor of TechnologyBEngTech programme. A number of NZDE courses cross credit to the BEngTech.

Employment opportunities 

The NZDE provides a structured pathway for technician-level engineers that combines applied academic learning with the development of practical skills. This pathway is strongly aligned with industry needs, and there are recognised industry shortages.

Future jobs include engineering consultancy, infrastructure asset maintenance and management, manufacturing, installation, production engineering, technical sales, computer aided draughting and design detailing, construction or contract management.

Bachelor of Engineering Technology 

Why a Bachelor of Engineering TechnologyBEngTech?

This three-year degree is designed to develop a wide set of skills that can be used in your engineering career. Graduates will be prepared for progression to a professional engineering degree or postgraduate study in their chosen field.

Eligibility and where to study 

You can be eligible if you’ve achieved University Entrance and at least 14 credits at NCEA Level 3 in both physics and calculus. This degree is available through several campuses within the Te Pūkenga network and selected universities.

Learn more about engineering technology degrees

Employment opportunities 

A degree in engineering technology can fast-track you to a rewarding and challenging career, as graduates are in huge demand in New Zealand and overseas.

Civil, electrical, mechanical, electronic, computer and mobile systems, food technology, network and communications, and computer network engineering are all specialisations and possible career paths available with this degree.

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Why a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – BE(Hons)?

This four-year honours degree is the standard qualification leading to work as a professional engineer. BE (Hons) programmes in New Zealand are generally accredited by Engineering New Zealand, allowing graduates to work as professionally qualified engineers all over the world.

In addition to academic course work, about 800 hours must be spent working in an engineering environment. These hours of practical work experience are usually completed during summer breaks.

Professional engineers take responsibility for complex engineering activities in a broad range of technical areas. They work with clients to define the project concepts, provide specialist knowledge and manage the overall project.

Eligibility and where to study 

Beyond a general requirement for University Entrance, entry criteria for engineering programmes at different universities vary. However, at least 14 credits at NCEA Level 3 in calculus and physics may be required or strongly encouraged. For some programmes, Level 3 credits in chemistry may also be required. This degree is offered by six New Zealand universities.

Employment opportunities 

Engineering graduates are employed in both the public and private sectors: in design, research and development, technical sales, management, marketing, education, and consultancy work. With this degree, you can major in a variety of specialisations, including biomedical, chemical and process, civil, computer systems, electrical, electronic, environmental, food, forest, mechanical, mechatronics, natural resources, network and communications, product development, and software engineering.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Tip: if you don’t have enough credit hours for a particular level of study, research tertiary providers for qualifications and bridging programmes that may be able to help you out.

Learn more about all accredited engineering qualifications in New Zealand


What is a cadetship? 

While they study and earn a degree, cadets are also working in their desired field, gaining hands-on experience in the real world. It’s a great chance to see if a career is right for you or not, and also gives you the opportunity to build your network and get to know the industry.

How do I find one? 

Some companies may offer cadet programmes. Consider reaching out to a human resources (HR) representative for more information.

You could also look on job search websites, do some research on industry organisations in your area, contact tertiary institutions, or have a chat with the careers advisor at your school.

Sites like LinkedIn can also be helpful to narrow your search for the right person to talk to.