Officers are the leaders of the New Zealand Army. They are the managers and strategists. Their decision-making skills and problem-solving abilities enable them to plan and execute tasks in wide-ranging conditions. It is their job to earn trust and respect, and to display the strength of character to inspire their soldiers in potentially difficult situations.

After completing Officer training, you will join a corps, specialising in combat, engineering, intelligence, communications or logistics.

As a Army Officer you are the frontline leader of the Army, to begin with, as a junior officer, you will be expected to:

  • Organise and conduct training
  • Budget and managing of resources assigned to you
  • Work alongside the troops you lead, participating in training and exercises
  • Take on an instructional role, passing on knowledge to your troops
  • Manage and coordinate field exercises

Officers are deployed all around the world, including UN missions (e.g. as an observer in Lebanon or Syria) and Afghanistan as part of our Provisional Reconstruction Team. Officers
 also have the opportunity to be chosen for exchange postings or conduct professional training and development overseas.

As you continue in the organisation, you will move between your primary specialty and into areas such as capability, project management (procurement of Army equipment), Human
Resource Management and Training and Development.

While undertaking Officer Training you will hold the Rank of Officer Cadet (see attached pay table). On graduation from your commissioning course will be promoted to Second Lieutenant and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17.5 years of age when you apply or older
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • You should be self-motivated and display leadership potential

While we accept school leavers, we would prefer people who may have a bit of life experience and possibly some tertiary education. There are some tertiary scholarship opportunities for school leavers who have achieved well at school and are interested in engineering. All Officers will have the opportunity to pursue further study as you progress through your career.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in Level 2 English.


You must have achieved NCEA level 3 with a minimum of 18 credits each at level 3 English, Mathematics and Physics. You also must have obtained a minimum of 100 level 3 credits and a minimum of 45 level 3 credits achieved at Merit or Excellence level.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Upon enlistment you are given an offer of service of 15 years. This is the standard Army offer but does not oblige either yourself or the Army to complete this. It is subject to factors including the your right to cease service with 3 months notice once your initial training is complete.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you’ll be posted to RNZAF Woodbourne base to complete the Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) – a seven-week, full-time course.

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, battle-craft, communications and an introduction to leadership.   It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.

Upon successful completion of the JOIC, you will be posted to Waiouru to complete the New Zealand Commission Course over the next 11 months at the Officer Cadet School. This follows on directly from the JOIC and is physically and mentally demanding. This is where your grounding as potential Officers begins and the intense training really starts. If you pass, you will be commissioned as an Officer in the New Zealand Army.

Reserve (Part time) Officer Cadets conduct a modular training course over a two year period designed to achieve the same outcome as the Regular Force course.


Junior officer training within the New Zealand Army includes further formal courses. Officers are expected to complete these courses in their first 1-4 years. These are:


The aim of an officer's initial corps course is to prepare the officer to assume a junior command appointment within his or her corps. This training is conducted as soon as possible after an officer completes his or her initial officer training. In most cases this training is conducted in New Zealand at the officer's parent corps school however, for selected corps, an officer's initial corps course may need to be conducted at an overseas training establishment.


The Junior Staff Officers Course is designed to prepare officers to perform the non-operational duties of an officer at unit and formation headquarters level. This training is sponsored by the School of Army Administration and is delivered by distance education and residential training.


Intermediate Officer Training within the New Zealand Army includes three formal courses aimed at further developing leadership, command tactics and planning skills.

You may be required to conduct other courses or training depending on how your career progresses.

Officers are needed wherever the New Zealand Army operates. Within New Zealand, we have major camps at Linton, Burnham, Trentham, Wellington, Papakura and Waiouru.

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