Medical professionals

Registered Medical Professionals are a core part of our healthcare system and we regularly accept overseas-trained doctors of all levels and specialities to our workforce.

New Zealand training model

After completing the six year Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, New Zealand doctors are employed by a District Health Board as an Intern or House Officer.

House Officers complete two years of rotations, with each rotation lasting three months. Through these rotations, graduates get the chance to work in a wide range of medical and surgical areas.

After being a House Officer for at least two years, New Zealand doctors can apply for a job as a registrar and enter into a training programme. These training programmes last a minimum of three years although most are five years. The programme may be based either in a hospital or a community setting. On completion, a registrar becomes either a specialist in one of a range of specialties, including general practice (family medicine).

International medical graduates

To work legally as a doctor in New Zealand, you need to register with the New Zealand Medical Council.

In order to register, you must prove that your qualifications and skills are equivalent to New Zealand standards. The New Zealand Medical Council approves certain degrees from other countries. See their website for a list of approved qualifications. 

Check out our flow chart and see below for more information on the registration process.

Applicants with approved qualifications

You can apply directly for registration with the Medical Council. You will be registered within a provisional general scope for up to two years. Once you have met criteria specified by the Medical Council, you are usually able to register in a general scope.

Applicants with other qualifications

You will be individually assessed by the Medical Council to determine if your qualifications and skills are equivalent to New Zealand standards.

If your qualification is equivalent, you may be given a provisional registration to assess if you are competent to practise. You will then be able to work within a full or limited vocational scope. See the Medical Council’s website for more information. 

If your qualification is not comparable to New Zealand qualifications, you may be able to enter the NZREX examinations. However, you will have to meet certain criteria specified by the medical council.

If you pass the NZREX exams, you will be eligible for registration in a general scope, provided that you complete four 3 months runs and provide certificates of good standing.

To find out if you are eligible to apply for registration in New Zealand, see the Medical Council’s Self Assessment for Registration. 

2. Job offer

You will find that employers regularly present job offers before your registration with the Medical Council is confirmed. However, these offers are subject to you receiving registration within a specified time-frame. You will find job vacancies listed on the national health job website.

3. Work visa

To be eligible to work in New Zealand, you will need a work visa. You can apply for work visas from Immigration New Zealand. Medical doctors are on New Zealand’s skill shortage list, so the immigration process is relatively straightforward. If you are an Australian national, you do not need to apply for a work visa

Who to contact for help?

Contact the Medical Council for general enquiries and check out the national job portal for jobs

Got a question? Check out our forum to see if your question has already been answered or contact us directly.


Around the world, doctors go by different names. Here is a list of commonly used terms and their equivalent in New Zealand. 

General Terms

House Officer/House Surgeon/Intern/FY1/FY2/PGY1/PGY2/RMO/junior doctor
Medical Officer/MOSS/Staff Grade/Board Eligible

Specialist Areas

Addiction Medicine Physician
Cardiologist/ Echocardiologist
Cardiac Radiologist
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Cardiovascular Surgeon
Child Adolescent and Family Psychiatrist
Intensive Care Physician Critical Care Medicine Physician
Diabetologist/ Endocrinologist
ED Physician/Emergency Medicine Physician
Otology/ORL/ Oto-Rhino-Laryngologist /ENT
Fertility Specialist
General Medicine Physician
Family/Physician/General Practitioner
General Surgeon
OBGYN/ O & G/ Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Haematologist/Clinical Haematologist
Infectious Diseases Physician
General Physician/ Internal Medicine Specialist
Renal Physician/Nephrologist
Nuclear Medicine Physician
Occupational Health Physician
Oncologist/Medical Oncologist/Radiation Oncologist/Clinical Oncologist
Oral Surgeon/Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon/Dental Surgeon
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Pain Medicine Specialist
Palliative Care Physician
Plastic Surgeon
Public Health Physician/Medical Officer of Health
Radiologist/diagnostic radiologist/interventional radiologist
Respiratory Physician/Pulmonary Physician
Sexual Health Physician
Transplant Surgeon
Vascular Surgeon


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