Level 3

Specialise in healthcare assistance

Study health and wellbeing

Are you passionate about caring for or helping other people? Then a career as a healthcare assistant or support worker may be for you. This certificate will prepare you to work in health and wellbeing.

Programme highlights

Are you passionate about caring for or helping other people? Do you enjoy talking to people and assisting them with their everyday activities of daily living?

This dynamic programme will ensure you are fully equipped with the skills and knowledge to work effectively within a variety of healthcare organisations and community settings as a proficient healthcare assistant. These roles are very rewarding and enable you to give back to our communities, and provide help to those who need it while providing a career for life.

As a healthcare assistant, you are part of a team that provides holistic, person-centred care primarily in an inpatient (hospital) setting. You will assist your clients to complete their activities of daily living including showering, meal assistance and moving/handling. A healthcare assistant ensures the provision of quality care essential to recovery under the direction and delegation of the registered nurse.

You will get the opportunity to learn, develop and practice hands-on clinical skills such as vital signs, bed making, bed bathing, showering, maintaining oral hygiene needs, and assisting people with meals. Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on communication and observational skills as these are an essential skill required of a healthcare assistant.

This programme includes a minimum of 100 hours of work experience. This takes place after the completion of the theory in the final weeks of the programme. You will undertake a placement in either a hospital or a residential care facility to consolidate your learning, clinical skills and knowledge.

Other programme information:

  • VCA checking. When you apply for this programme you will need to undergo police vetting and VCA checking. This means you must provide two character references that attest to your suitability to work in a mental health or community support work setting
  • Uniform. Your uniform will be a white polo shirt, black pants and black trainers/shoes. You will be required to supply these items.
  • You may be required to complete literacy and numeracy assessments as part of this programme.

If you are Māori or Pasifika, find out how you could be supported on your MIT journey with Te Ara Oranga.

Please note: Although the Government vaccine mandate for health and disability workers ended on 11:59pm 26 September 2022, some employers can still require workers to be vaccinated due to their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Placement is a compulsory component of MIT’s healthcare programmes. To go on placement in this sector, students will need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination to MIT. Students that hold a medical exemption that prevents them from being vaccinated are permitted to work in the healthcare sector, but will have limited placement opportunities in that sector. Students that are not vaccinated, or that do not wish to share their vaccination status with MIT, may not be able to go on placement in the healthcare sector. If you hold a medical exemption, or if you are unable or unwilling to provide proof of vaccination to MIT, your placement opportunities will accordingly be limited and MIT cannot guarantee availability with placement providers.  If this applies to you, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your options.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


Be 17 years of age or older.


Applicants must meet the following criteria for admission into the programme:

NCEA Level 1 or equivalent DAS Unit Standards.

For applicants 20 years of age and over there are no minimum academic requirements;


Can demonstrate equivalent knowledge/capability through relevant work experience with the approval of the Industry Manager;


Have successfully completed a New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 2) or equivalent.


Applicants are not required to attend an interview, however a programme information session will be held to ensure applicants have selected the appropriate programme of study.

English language entry requirements

Applicants must have sufficient competence in the English language to undertake this programme which is taught and assessed in English. Any applicant whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of their English language competency as follows:

English language requirements for applicants for whom English is a second language

Applicants for whom English is a second language (including international applicants) for the minimum English language requirements refer to the requirements set out in the current NZQA English language requirements.

Regulatory or other requirements

This programmes includes a minimum of 100 hours of work experience. Workplace can be embedded throughout the programme where a student is in a workplace environment.

Or will be scheduled throughout the programme to ensure the student has the necessary practicum experience to meet competence.

Students will be required to undergo initial and ongoing checks to ensure they are a fit and proper person to provide support in the health and wellbeing sectors.

Applicants of this programme will need to undergo police vetting and VCA checking.

Immune status requirements as per industry needs.

This programme adheres to and is consistent with the Health and Disability Commissioner (Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) Regulations 1996, the Privacy Act 1993, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, and any other legislative or contractual requirements to which the industry or role is subject.

Special & discretionary admission

Any ākonga who is 20 years of age or older and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme is eligible for Special Admission. Te Pūkenga works with the ākonga to ensure they are prepared for their intended programme. Any ākonga who is not yet 20 years of age and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme may be eligible for Discretionary Admission. In assessing whether to grant Discretionary Admission, the delegated authority focuses on the applicant’s level of preparedness for their intended programme.

Give yourself credit with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Did you know you can use the knowledge and experience you already have to your advantage?

Your previous work experience and on-the-job skills, volunteering, professional development, and other providers’ qualifications can be recognised as prior learning, matched against credits in our courses, and put towards your qualification – potentially saving you money and possibly helping you to complete your qualification faster Learn more.

Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete the below five courses from your strand (70 credits):

Healthcare assistant strand

724.301 Caring within a health or wellbeing setting (10 credits)

You will demonstrate knowledge of ethical and legal frameworks which underpins person-centred support/care for clients.

This course explores the role of the healthcare assistant and relevant regulations, legislation, and protocols that guide the way we deliver care.  We review the healthcare system and the roles of the large number of health professionals that may care for our patients/clients. Lastly, we discuss how to recognize and the impacts of vulnerability and abuse.

724.310 Supporting a safe environment for the healthcare assistant (15 credits)

This course allows you to demonstrate knowledge of maintaining safe work practices when providing person-centred care.

This course explores vital information to support safe work practices including moving and handling of clients/patient which is then put in to practice in MIT’s clinical learning suite. Other key aspects of this course include infection control principles, risk management and responding to changes of a patient/clients condition.

724.311 Socio-cultural awareness and safety for the healthcare assistant (5 credits)

You will demonstrate knowledge of socio-cultural dynamics to ensure safety when delivering person centred care.

Developing cultural competence is the theme of this paper. It is achieved through the exploration of culturally safe care with focus on both Maori and Pasifika and their cultural customs. The Treaty of Waitangi and “The New Zealand Health Strategy” are introduced as well as their application to the way we deliver healthcare in New Zealand.

724.314 Functional individual needs for the healthcare assistant (20 credits)

You will be able to demonstrate knowledge of impact on functional ability on an individual in order to provide person-centred care.

This course reviews all aspects of the human body including each of the body systems (and its requirements) through to the aging process. Chronic health conditions that are common in our community are discussed as well as how to empower clients/patients to manage the functional changes that can occur.

724.313 Communication for the healthcare assistant (20 credits)

You will be able to demonstrate effective communication strategies to manage challenging behaviour within a health or wellbeing setting.

The fundamental skill of communication is a large focus on this course. From the way that we speak to what we say, topics covered range from identifying behavioral changes to the importance of personal care plans. Challenging behaviors of clients/patients and how we can respond is covered with a section on the progressive condition, dementia.

Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Further training or study

Career opportunities

Graduates of the health assistance strand may be employed as healthcare assistants in a range of contexts including acute care, primary care, aged residential care and therapeutic programmes.

Graduates of the support work strand may be employed in a range of roles supporting people in the community including disability, ACC support work, in home support roles. For potential salaries visit careers.govt.nz.

Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. Free study for Level 3 may be available for 16 to 24 year olds (Youth Guarantee). All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 25 March 2024. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pūkenga is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.