Job Prospects... At a glance
People who complete medical training have very strong employment prospects, as demand continues to grow for doctors in New Zealand and internationally.
In New Zealand, demand for general and specialist medical care will continue to grow because of the ageing population, and because about one-third of doctors in general practice are retiring over the next decade.
On the other hand, it is hard to get into medical school due to high entry requirements, with only a limited number of people being accepted each year.
Doctors work to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, and physical or mental illness. They may also do research, teach, or work in medical management roles. They can specialise in a vast range of areas and may work in hospitals, clinics, medical surgeries, or research and tertiary institutes.
Their tasks may include:
To begin relevant tertiary training, University Entrance is required. Useful subjects include maths with calculus and/or statistic s, chemistry, physics, biology, and English.
To become a doctor you need to:
In the sixth year of MBChB, students are based in hospital as trainee interns.
|Undergraduate Health Sciences||Medical School|
|$8,000 first year||$77,000 over five years|
Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free
tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to feesfree.govt.nz. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.
Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city, and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.
The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.
Undergraduate health science and medical training is only available at the University of Otago or the University of Auckland.
University of Otago: www.otago.ac.nz/courses/qualifications/mbchb.html
University of Auckland: www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/en/faculty/for/future-undergraduates
Practising doctors must be registered. The Medical Council of New Zealand regulates the medical profession and maintains a register of practising medical practitioners, including general practitioners, house officers (also called house surgeons), registrars and specialists.
Medical Council of New Zealand: www.mcnz.org.nz
The number of students who completed medical studies with a bachelor’s degree increased fluctuates from year to year.
Qualification completions chart
Source: Ministry of Education
Doctors’ incomes vary depending on the specialty/area, location, number of patients and work done. House officers’ salaries at a district health board (DHB) range between $70,000 and $102,000 (depending on seniority and working hours) a year.
Registrars’ incomes range between $70,000 and $175,000. Senior doctors earn even more, with incomes ranging from $112,000 to $212,000. Senior doctors can also work in private practice where rates of pay vary.
In 2019, the average income for doctors is estimated to be around $149,000.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
The number of practising doctors increased quickly from 2006 to 2013. In the next few years, a continued increase in employment is projected, But there are concerns that there will not be enough doctors to meet demand.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Tertiary Education Commission.
*Three years after completion of Postgraduate / Honours - Medical Studies.
Most graduates with a postgraduate or honours degree in medical studies were in employment three years after completing the qualification, and a few had gone overseas. The median salary was $107,000 at that point.
If a job appears on Immigration New Zealand’s immediate or long-term skill shortage list, it means the government is actively encouraging skilled people in the role to come and work in New Zealand. There are several medical specialties on the long-term skill shortage list, including:
The following occupations are on the immediate skill shortage list:
The long-term skill shortage list applies for all regions. The specific occupations on the immediate skill shortage list that are mentioned here also apply for all regions.
A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Immigration NZ, skill shortage list: skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz
The number of online job advertisements for generalist medical practitioners increased continually until 2015, and after a decrease for the next three years has started to pick up again.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Doctors’ vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs, Seek, and Kiwi Health Jobs websites.
Upon graduating, people then become employed by a DHB as a house officer (also known as house surgeon). House officers do two years of rotations through different parts of the hospital. These are called clinical attachments and last three months each (in a wide range of medical and surgical matters). Doctors usually decide on what they want to specialise in during clinical attachments.
After successfully completing two years as a house officer, doctors can apply for a job as a registrar and enter into a training programme. Further details about specialisations are available via the KiwiHealth website: www.kiwihealthjobs.com/rmo/fact-sheets
Registrar training programmes last a minimum of three to seven years. During training, registrars work towards vocational (specialist) qualifications. Registrars need to complete exams. In the training programme a registrar can work either in a hospital or in the community (for example, in a general practice). On completion, a person can become a specialist, surgeon, physician or general practitioner. Many doctors start their own practice once their training is complete. As doctors gain experience and seniority, they may be given managerial responsibility, or be responsible for more difficult procedures.
The Health Careers website provides assistance for those looking to become a doctor.
Health Careers: www.healthcareers.org.nz
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level doctors.
The Ministry of Health runs a voluntary bonding scheme, with additional payments to help repay student loans. This is aimed at recruiting more graduate doctors to work in hard-to-staff locations (such as rural areas) and in hard-to-staff specialist roles.
More information on doctors is available on the Careers NZ website and through the "Just the Job" videos.
Careers NZ: www.careers.govt.nz
National Māori Health Workforce Development Organisation: www.kiaorahauora.co.nz
Just the Job video clip: A Career as A General Practitioner and Medical Lab Scientist
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Ophthalmology with The Eye Institute
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Public Health Doctor
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of doctors has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:
253 – Medical Practitioners