Left school without NCEA?

TEC AoG 18815 Plan Your Career Advice pages webtiles v4 Left school without NCEA

Left school with no NCEA? Here's what to do.

If you want to do a course or apprenticeship, but don't have NCEA, you still have options.

Get NCEA outside of school

You can earn NCEA credits outside of school.

Te Kura – The Correspondence School

You can earn some NCEA credits by distance learning at Te Kura – The Correspondence School

Youth Guarantee

If you are 16 to 19 years old, you can learn a trade and study fees-free toward NCEA Level 2 at trades academies and some other education providers.

Do a course or training without NCEA

You can still study or do an apprenticeship without having NCEA credits.


You don't need you to have NCEA credits for some apprenticeships. Check with the industry training provider.

Bridging and foundation courses

Bridging and foundation courses allow you to get credits so you can enter a university degree course, or apprenticeship training.

Certificate courses

Certificate courses can give you:

  • the qualifications you need for an occupation
  • credits to enter a university degree course or apprenticeship training.

For example, the Certificate in Health Sciences may help you find work as a health care assistant or carer, and also give you entry credits for the Bachelor of Nursing.

Course entrance as a mature learner

Universities or polytechnics often give exceptions to learners with limited NCEA credits if they are over 20 years old.

Get in touch with the student liaison officers at your nearest university or polytechnic to see if you qualify as a mature learner.

Recognition of prior learning

You may be able to earn credits towards qualifications due to skills and knowledge you have already gained through your work.

Updated 8 Oct 2020