TEC AoG 18815 Plan Your Career Advice pages webtiles v4 Micro credentials

Find out what micro-credentials are, and how they could help you upskill or change career.

What are micro-credentials?

Micro-credentials are a formal way of recognising your skills and knowledge in a particular area that employers are looking for. They are aimed at people who want to:

  • upskill, or learn a specific skill
  • work with technology that is changing rapidly
  • change careers quickly, without having to take time off work to train
  • get specialised skills that employers are looking for
  • get credit for skills they already have.

Micro-credentials cover a wide range of subjects, from electric vehicle battery diagnosis to kitchen installation.

Check the NZQA website to find out what micro-credentials are available. This information is updated as new micro-credentials become available.

Differences between micro-credentials and qualifications

Micro-credentials differ from formal qualifications. They:

  • have to meet a range of requirements, including evidence of need from employers, industries, communities and iwi
  • can’t duplicate skills or topics already taught in qualifications
  • are worth between five and 40 credits, which means they are smaller than qualifications (which range from 40 to 360 credits).

You may be able to use micro-credentials towards gaining a qualification. The education provider will know what qualification a micro-credential may be used for. 

A qualification or a micro-credential?

Micro-credentials aren’t a substitute for qualifications that are entry requirements for a job.

However, for some jobs without specific entry qualifications, a micro-credential that demonstrates you have relevant training and experience can help you get a position. For example, someone who completes BCITO’s managed traineeship, or micro-credential, in kitchen installations may be able to get a job working for a builder installing kitchens, but not doing other specialised building work.

Where to get micro-credentials

Micro-credentials may be offered by:

  • universities, wānanga, Te Pūkenga and private training establishments (PTEs)
  • employers and professional bodies, either in partnership with tertiary education providers or directly.

How to get a micro-credential

To get a micro-credential you may need to:

  • complete online and classroom study
  • learn skills, particularly trade skills, on the job
  • provide evidence of your existing skills to credit toward part of, or a whole micro-credential.

Length of time to get a micro-credential

The time it takes to complete a micro-credential depends on:

  • the time you have available to study, and your study skills
  • the level of the micro-credential
  • the number of credits in the micro-credential. One credit is approximately 10 hours of learning, so a 5-credit course is approximately 50 hours of learning.

Learners should be able to complete most micro-credentials without taking time off work.

Cost of micro-credentials

Contact the education provider to find out the cost of micro-credentials.

Fees free and student loans

Micro-credential learners are not eligible for student loans or allowances, but may be eligible for the Fees Free initiative.

Digital badges, nano-degrees and managed traineeships

Micro-credentials have different names, including:

  • nano-degree
  • nano-credential
  • managed traineeship
  • brand names, such as EduBits, offered by Otago Polytechnic.

If you complete a micro-credential, your provider might issue you with a digital badge, which you can display online.

NZQA-approved micro-credentials can also be displayed on your record of achievement.

Find out more

Updated 29 Aug 2023