The Institute of Directors (IOD) is launching a chartered director development programme, in a move driven by the growing number of directors.
Members will be classified as either a member, a chartered member or a chartered fellow and will progress through the programme based on assessments and peer reviews.
The programme was approved at the annual meeting on Monday and will start at the beginning of October.
Institute chief executive William Whittaker said directors would be judged by their peers.
"Our members must submit to basically a competency assessment ... and be judged by their peers as to whether they've got the necessary skills and experience to really be what we could call a professional director," Dr Whittaker said.
"It's a change in the organisation from being essentially a trade association towards self regulation."
The move was necessary as being a director was the most popular activity in New Zealand; there were about 500,000 legal directors, he said.
"We think that the public needs a greater assurance of the competence and quality of directors, particularly when they're in situations where they're recipients of public money to the sharemarket.
"So this is actually stating that the IOD takes directing seriously and actually wants to ensure that anybody who claims to be a member of the IOD essentially has the right stuff."