Before you begin
Let’s start with the basics. To apply for any career with us, you'll need to be:
- Medically and physically fit
- A New Zealand citizen, or New Zealand Permanent Resident visa holder
- Preferably free from criminal convictions (assessed on a case by case basis)
- At least 16.5 years old to submit an application. You must have turned 18 years old by the time you graduate from your recruit course.
There are also some Defence Force careers which have additional requirements because of the nature of the role. But if you're unclear about anything, then the best thing to do is apply, and we can work through any criteria with you to determine if you can go forward.
Do I need a qualification?
We provide all the training for most roles, but we do have minimum education requirements for all our trades. These differ depending on the skill set required for the specific trade. However, the lowest education requirement is 10 credits in each NCEA Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy.
Unsure about NCEA?
The NZ Qualifications Authority website describes NCEA in more detail. If you have alternative high school qualifications to NCEA, get in touch with us to discuss how to go about getting these recognised.
Don't have enough NCEA credits?
The Open Polytechnic offers a free course called the New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 1). This will allow you to gain the credits you need to apply for a role with us.
Am I fit enough?
Being fit is an important part of being in the NZ Defence Force. The good news is our fitness levels are easily achievable with a little effort, and we'll help you every step of the way.
What are my options?
Officers are leaders, managers and strategists. Their decision-making skills and problem-solving abilities enable them to plan and execute tasks in a wide variety of scenarios. It's their job to earn trust and respect from the personnel under their charge and display the strength of character to inspire.
Many of our officer roles require a university qualification in a specific field, but some officer roles are open to general applicants, and some even offer university scholarships.
Our soldiers, sailors and airmen are the backbone of our Defence Force. You'll be part of a special team, working together to achieve specific missions.
Whether you are working on land, on sea or in the air, you will be an expert in your field, providing the hands-on skills that makes us such a diverse, exciting and capable organisation. Whatever your trade, you will enjoy a diverse career that enables you to fulfil your potential in unique situations.
There is also another option open to you. All three services maintain a Reserve Force. This is an opportunity to play your part, learn trades and experience life in the Defence Force, but on a part-time basis. This means you can experience the best of both worlds and combine a civilian career with Defence Force experience.
We welcome military members from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia to apply for a career with us.