Life in the Army

Education and training

Challenging but fun

Just like any sports team, we use education and training to turn potential into real-life ability and achievement. Expect a lot of training in the Army, because it keeps you in peak condition, physically and mentally. Education and training also give you the unique skills that will make you an expert in your chosen trade.

It's challenging, but it’s also good fun and a bonding experience. Many soldiers meet their closest mates during training.

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Types of education and training


Your first 16 weeks of training will be spent on an All Arms Recruit Course (AARC), commonly known as Recruit Training. It’ll give you the basic skills you’ll need to become a successful soldier, covering everything from the fundamentals of weapons training to first aid, navigation and lessons on military law. It’s also where you’ll first be introduced to your chosen trade.

Your training will be based at our Waiouru Army Camp, though you’ll also do some exercises further afield. This will be an intense period of training, demanding a lot of you physically – but the great thing is you’ll be getting paid to keep fit, including playing social sports with your mates.


Even though this time will be fairly intense, you will still get some downtime – including most Sundays, which will be kept free to give you some personal time and the ability to attend church if desired. You can also spend your free time at any of our recreational facilities, including the gym, swimming pool, or library. There are even shops where you can get basic everyday items, so you’ll have access to everything you need.


There will also be a break halfway through the course to give you some time to go home and rest before beginning the remainder of your training. There are also two visitors’ days where you can invite your friends and family to visit the camp.


Once you’ve graduated from Basic Training you'll be posted to your unit at any one of the Army camps within New Zealand. Your next stage of training will be your trade specific ‘corps training’ which will teach you the basics for your specific trade. You'll find life in the Army quite different once you march out of your basic training, in that your freedom and spare time will increase significantly. You’ll even find that your working days return to normal hours and your accommodation will move from shared rooms to single rooms if you choose to remain living in barracks.

Individuals wishing to conduct any Officer Course need to be motivated, adaptable, resilient, physically fit and have a desire to be an effective leader within the New Zealand Defence Force.

Initial Induction Training (IIT) – Jan/Mar

(8 weeks) Location: Waiouru Military Camp

All direct entry NZ Army Officer Cadets and selected individuals are required to complete IIT. This full-time course will introduce potential officers to the standards and discipline required to be an effective member of the New Zealand Army. It is designed to train basic individual military skills which includes:

  • Self-leadership
  • Physical Training
  • Field-craft
  • Military Unarmed Combat
  • Weapon handling
  • Navigation
  • Drill
  • Battle-craft
  • Radio telephone procedure

New Zealand Commissioning Course (NZCC) – Mar/Dec

(42 weeks) Location: Waiouru Military Camp

This course commences at the end of IIT. It is designed for those with the potential to undertake a career in the New Zealand Army as a Regular Force Officer. Students will be exposed to a range of military environments, aimed at developing the leadership, character, and education of individuals in order to prepare them for commissioned service. Training includes:

  • Leading Teams
  • Leading Leaders
  • Physical Training
  • Field-craft
  • Enhanced Weapon handling
  • Navigation
  • Drill
  • Enhanced Battle-craft
  • Radio telephone procedure
  • Tactics
  • University Study

The NZCC training cycle is based on an upon an Infantry Platoon training continuum.

New Zealand Territorial Force Commissioning Course (NZ TFCC) – Jan/Feb

(7 weeks) Location: Waiouru Military Camp

This is a full-time course designed for those with the potential to undertake a career in the New Zealand Army as a Territorial Force (Reserve) Officer. During TFCC, students spend a significant portion of their time in a field environment aimed at developing the leadership, character, and education of individuals in order to prepare them for Territorial commissioned service. Training includes:

  • Leadership
  • Field-craft
  • Drill
  • NZ Army tactics

Specialist Officer Induction Course (SOIC) – May/Jun

(6 weeks) Location: Waiouru Military Camp

This course is designed for personnel who are employed by the New Zealand Army for their specialist skills. Specialist Officers are required to complete this course in their first year of employment. Those enlisting into the Territorial Force will have the option of completing this course in two modules (i.e. Module One = 3 weeks and Module Two = 3 weeks), in consecutive years. Students will learn how to utilise and integrate their specialist skills within the context of the New Zealand Army. This course provides an introduction to the military skills required of Specialist Officers which includes:

  • Basic field-craft
  • Weapon handling
  • NZ Army Ethos and Values
  • Leadership
  • NZ Army tactics

Throughout your career as a Soldier or an Officer, you'll receive skills and expertise that will be integral to you both in and outside of Army life.


Starting with individual training, you’ll gain expertise in your selected trade or professional role, as well as the basic skills you will need in combat situations. You’ll then move onto collective training – teamwork is a hugely important factor in all Army operations, so you'll need to put your skills into practice as part of a team, combining your expertise together to become an operationally prepared unit.

The last step in your initial training will then focus on sharpening your skills as a leader. All Army personnel are called to display leadership in their job, whether it’s taking charge of your team, displaying courage under pressure, or even responding to moral or ethical challenges – this will bring out the best in you, helping you to harness your full potential as a leader in both your job and in your daily life.


During your first couple of years in the Army, the training is almost non-stop. After that you will always be learning something on the job, whether individually or collectively.  We'll give you opportunities to train further throughout your career, including the chance to participate in a voluntary tertiary education programme available through the Military Studies Institute. You can even apply to have your tertiary education fully funded.

You will be hard pressed to find another organisation that can match the Army’s support for career development and further education.

The Army has some limited graduate schemes for officer entrants – but we now mainly focus on getting you into the service before we commit to tertiary scholarships.

If you are already a graduate when you join us, then you may want to pursue post-graduate studies too. This is also something we can help with, giving you time off and financial support.

Some people discover a passion for education further down the line. Often, this is because specialist qualifications are required for their chosen trade. Qualifications can also be a good way of achieving promotions. Either way, in the Army you'll always have the opportunity to study – even if that means leaving your day job for a time.

If you're thinking about a career in the Army and want to combine it with your studies, ask about how we can help.


The Medical Officer Cadet Scheme provides funding assistance through Medical School. There is a ‘year for year’ plus an additional year Return Of Service Obligation (ROSO) for this scheme. You must successfully complete an Officer Selection board prior to commencing the scheme. You will receive an annual salary. As a Medical Officer Cadet, you will undertake a small amount of military training during your 3rd - 6th years at Medical School. This is designed to get you used to military life and practices, so you will be familiar with military culture before you take up your commission as a Medical Officer (Doctor). On completion of your academic studies, you must undergo two years of registration in a civilian hospital. During this time you will be on Leave Without Pay (LWP) from the NZDF.


GISS is aimed at recent medical and dental graduates, and students in their final year of study. When you take up an Offer of Service, you will receive reimbursement toward your tertiary studies in addition to your normal salary. The reimbursement is an annual payment of up to $40k total over four years upon entering the Service (additional to salary). There is no ROSO for this scheme.


The ADFA Scheme is available to Army Officer Cadets and requires you to study a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) majoring in Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia. Whilst at ADFA, you will study within a military environment, including undertaking military training during the university holidays. Spaces are limited and selection is highly competitive. You will receive an annual salary and your fees will be paid. On completion of your degree, you will incur a ‘year for year’ Return of Service Obligation (ROSO).

Minimum Entry Requirements:

  • NCEA L3 English
  • NCEA L3 Mathematics
  • Entry for ADFA is 100 NCEA L3 Credits with 45 at either Merit or Excellence
Basic Training (All Arms Recruit Course)

Ever wondered what it's like to go through basic training in the NZ Army? See a round of brand new recruits taking it on and toughing it out for 16 weeks in the All Arms Recruit Course.

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Give your passion purpose

Whatever your passion in life, there's a role in the Army that will give it purpose.

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