Kahikatea - Certificate in Social Service Studies (Level 4)

Do you love helping people? On this course you’ll learn how you can make a positive difference! The certificate provides valuable insight into all the different social services available and the reasons why people need to access them.

You’ll need to be resilient, empathetic, compassionate and selfless – keen to offer advice, advocacy and support to people with personal and social problems and to help resolve wider community social issues.

Topics include values, ethics, laws and responsibilities, cultural expectations and client needs.

You’ll learn how to establish an appropriate environment to provide optimal social service support, with the ultimate goal of helping people to function at their best.

With the choice of two start dates, this is an ideal course if you want to try social work but don’t want to commit to a degree.

The confidence and skills gained during this certificate will make it easier for you to pathway into further study if desired, like the University of Waikato’s Bachelor of Social Work or the Bachelor of Social Sciences which are both taught right here in Tauranga.

Content Details

Personal and Professional Development
This course outlines the meaning of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and ethics within the social services. You'll explore your own values alongside codes of ethics relevant to social service practice and social service organisations.

Social Service Work
You'll learn about and discuss social services in Aotearoa and the laws, structures, and responsibilities in social work.

Social Service Delivery
Assessment of client need and how to establish an appropriate environment will be covered in this course.


This programme is 17 weeks with classes scheduled for approximately 24 hours per week, Monday-Friday.

20 Feb 201730 Jun 2017Full-timeTauranga (Windermere Campus)1 semester
17 Jul 201724 Nov 2017Full-timeTauranga (Windermere Campus)1 semester

Indicative Fees

2017 domestic students $3,051.00

2017 international students $10,640.00

The fee shown for domestic students is applicable to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. If an international fee is not listed above please refer to the international fees page. All fees are indicative only and subject to change.

You MAY be eligible for a StudyLink Student Loan for your tuition fees.

Find out if your programme qualifies by visiting the Studylink website.

If you also need to pay course related costs, i.e. if outlined in programme costs above, you need to apply separately to StudyLink (up to $1,000/academic year for eligible students). Note course related costs are paid directly into your bank account by StudyLink and you will be required to pay this to Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Qualifications Gained

Upon successful completion of the programme you will receive:

  • Kahikatea - Certificate in Social Service Studies (Level 4)

Career Opportunities

  • Community support worker
  • Residential support worker
  • Caregiver

Potential Employers

  • Non-profit community groups
  • Iwi/Maori organisations
  • District health boards
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Residential care centres

Study Pathways

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Pathways

Bachelor of Social Work
Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSocSc)

Entry Criteria

To gain entry into this programme, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • have a minimum of four years secondary schooling if enrolling immediately after completing secondary school, and
  • have NCEA Level 2 or have successfully completed Te Timatanga -  Certificate in Tertiary Study Level 2 OR have evidence of successful study at Level 3 (for example Tools for Academic Study L3 or L4)
  • Have an understanding of what social and community work involves

Special Admission

Students who do not satisfy the standard academic entry requirements of a programme will be considered for special admission if, in the opinion of the Programme Coordinator, they are capable of achieving the programme outcomes.

Police Check

Although a police check is not required for this programme, if you wish to become a social worker it is important to determine your likelihood of meeting the Social Worker’s Registration Board ‘fit and proper person’ criteria.


International applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to show evidence of language competency, issued within the last two years, before being eligible to enrol in any non-English programme. The level of competency required is outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013. And below under the title English Competency.

English Competency

Level 4 certificate IELTS General or Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L3 with an endorsement of either General, Workplace or Academic, or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013.

For domestic applicants for whom English is not their first language, evidence of language competency may be required.