Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) for New Zealand Registered Nurses

The perfect option if you’re a New Zealand Registered Nurse who needs a Competency Assessment Programme to obtain a current Annual Practicing Certificate. Gain the most up-to-date skills and knowledge required to be part of a healthcare team in New Zealand during this theoretical and applied programme. The theory courses may also be used for professional development purposes and you can enrol in one or both of these.


8 Weeks Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
On campus
July - Dunedin only
October - Dunedin only


*Approximate full qualification tuition fee

What You Study


Course Description Credits Level
Theory: BN721001: Contemporary Nursing Practice in New Zealand 

The aim of this course is to enable learners to meet selected registered nurse competencies through updating their health assessment and fundamental nursing skills. 

10 7
Clinical: BN722001: Professional Assessment: Clinical Practicum

This clinical course commences immediately after the two theory courses. Through work-based learning, orientate yourself to nursing practice in New Zealand and demonstrate your ability to meet the Nursing Council Registered Nurses Competencies. Successful completion of this course, as well as the theory courses, will mean you are able to apply for registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand. If you do not achieve the competencies by the end of the clinical course, you may apply to re-enrol. This course involves 240 hours of full-time rostered duties at an approved clinical provider.

30  7

Upon successful completion of this programme, you'll achieve the Certificate in Professional Practice for Registered Nurses.

You will need to demonstrate the ability to meet Competencies for registered nurses (Nursing Council of New Zealand, 2007) to be eligible for an Annual Practising Certificate.

Clinical placements

Otago Polytechnic has clinical placements around New Zealand and you may be placed in a clinical facility outside Dunedin. Candidate preferences will be taken into account by the Programme Leader.

Further study options

Advance your skills and increase your career prospects with postgraduate Nursing studies in New Zealand.


Your workload

This programme includes ten days of theory followed by 240 hours (six weeks) in clinical practice. Otago Polytechnic will organise your clinical placement provider (predominantly in Dunedin or the Otago region).

Five weeks is the minimum duration, eight weeks the maximum, for successful completion of the theory and clinical courses.

The Nursing Council allows one re-enrolment for the clinical course if you are unsuccessful. Candidates will need to anticipate studying in evenings and weekends to be successful in the theoretical component.


Entry requirements

All New Zealand registered nurses who meet the requirements of the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) will be accepted into this programme. However, acceptance is dependent on the availability of places in the requested intake.

  • You must:
    • provide a verification letter from Nursing Council of New Zealand of your registration
    • provide a Criminal Conviction History Report 
    • give a conviction declaration and consent to police vetting (upon acceptance into the programme, the paperwork for this will be sent to you)
    • provide a health declaration and your immunity status - please see this document for further details (and more info below)
    • provide a CV detailing your professional nursing experience as this will help us to negotiate an appropriate clinical placement for you
    • give us two referee reports, one from your most recent employer 
    • provide a cover letter summarising your reasons for wanting to study this programme and any skills and experience.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

For enquiries about requirements for obtaining an Annual Practicing Certificate, please contact the Nursing Council of New Zealand (Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa). 

PO Box 9644, Wellington,
6141, New Zealand

Phone +64 4 385 9589
Fax +64 4 801 8502


Health and immunisation status

You must be physically and psychologically able to engage in diverse clinical nursing practice in New Zealand, including acute hospital, community and mental health settings during this programme.

Covid-19 vaccination information

You don’t need to supply evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination status to apply for this programme. However, most placement providers will require evidence from you that you are fully vaccinated before allowing you to complete a placement at their organisation. Placements are an integral part of this programme and you’ll need to complete these to be able to successfully achieve your qualification.

Risks and immunisation status

Clinical Placement Providers require Otago Polytechnic to hold documentary evidence (ie a copy of current laboratory results) of your immune status and vaccination history for certain diseases before commencement of program. This information may be shared as necessary with clinical placement providers. The infectious diseases which we are required to hold immune status information for include:

  • Varicella Zoster Ig G
  • Varicella Zoster Ig G
  • Rubella antibody test (Rubella Ig G)
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen test
  • Hepatitis B surface antibody test
  • Tuberculosis:  Quantiferon Gold – TB
  • Measles Ig G

You are required to provide recent lab blood-test results that outline your current immune status in relation to the above infectious diseases. Immune status can only be ascertained by blood test. These are mandatory tests required for applications to be considered – it does not guarantee acceptance into the competence assessment program.

Please also provide a copy of your immunisation record with your application documents and your blood test results.

Lab results must be in English and on official laboratory results forms. Quantiferon results should be from within the past 12 months.

MRSA (nasal swab) is only required if applicants have previously tested positive for MRSA.

Recommended vaccinations
  • It's strongly recommended that candidates are vaccinated for pertussis. The prevalence of this infectious condition is on the rise and health authorities are recommending booster vaccination for adults.
  • It's also strongly recommended that candidates are vaccinated annually against influenza.

Selection process

There is a maximum number of students accepted per intake. Once each intake has been filled, qualified applicants will be placed on a waitlist and notified of their status. 


Domestic fees

Full tuition

Tuition fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees you will be charged an admin fee of $300. 

You are also responsible for clinical costs such as transport and accommodation.

Student Services Fee

For most students, your tuition fee shown above includes a Student Services Fee – also known as the Student Levy. This compulsory fee covers your access to the student services we offer. This cost is tailored depending on how you're studying.


Completing your application

You can enter information and upload documents directly into the application form. You may wish to prepare some of the required documentation beforehand.

To begin your application, click the Apply button at the top of this page.

You will need to provide:

  1. Your academic records/qualifications. 
  2. Proof of registration or expired practising certificate from the Nursing Council of New Zealand.
  3. Police vetting and declaration of any criminal convictions (applicants who have lived in countries other than New Zealand need to provide a Police Clearance from each country).
  4. A health declaration.
  5. Evidence of your immunisation status.
  6. A curriculum vitae (CV).
  7. A written statement about your skills and experience (cover letter).
  8. Contact details for two referees - (one from your most recent employer).
  9. Certified copies of proof of identity.
  10. Evidence that you meet English language requirements (if English is not your first language).

You will also need to attend an interview as part of the application process. We will contact you to arrange this.

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014