Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Medical Technicians

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for medical technicians are good. There should be steady demand for new graduates as employment in this occupation is expected to increase over the next few years.

How to become a medical technicians

What they do

Medical technicians assist doctors and other medical professionals in their work. This includes, for example, preparing operation theatres, collecting samples from patients, operating diagnostic equipment such as x-ray machines, as well as many other assistance tasks.

Their tasks may include:

  • operating equipment used in diagnosing and monitoring disorders of the heart, kidneys, nervous system and hearing, and in anaesthesia
  • undertaking and assisting with medical analytical procedures and assisting Anaesthetists and surgical teams
  • recording the electrical activity of the heart, from which the heart rate is measured and pattern and rhythm interpreted
  • taking, collecting and labelling blood, urine and other samples from patients
  • preparing and staining slides and tissue sections for blood and histological examination
  • performing diagnostic tests on tissues and body fluids and analysing the chemical constituents of blood, urine, faeces and tissues
  • testing for diseases by looking for the presence of antibodies and the products of immune response in samples
  • setting up, checking and maintaining operating theatres, anaesthetic workstations, life support machines and associated equipment
  • referring prescriptions to Pharmacists and assisting in preparing medications.


Students usually need a diploma or degree and some time working as a trainee before becoming a fully qualified medical technician. The specific qualification needed varies according to the type of medical technician. For example, to be a medical laboratory technician, you can either work as a trainee for three years and sit a qualified medical laboratory technician exam; or obtain a qualification approved by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand and work as a trainee for one year.

Medical laboratory technicians and anaesthetic technicians also need to be registered with, and hold an annual practicing certificate issued by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

For more details on becoming a medical laboratory technician or anaesthetic technician, see the Medical Sciences Council’s page for graduates.

Other kinds of medical technicians may require a bachelor’s degree, or other qualifications to be fully qualified.

Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand:

Cost of study

Bachelor's degree in health sciences
$24,000 over three 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 Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.A bachelor’s degree in health sciences can lead to several qualifications that are relevant for medical technicians, for example, a degree in radiation therapy.

Costs vary for different kinds of technicians. In some occupations, there is the option to train on the job under the supervision of an experienced technician, while completing block courses and distance learning. This is likely to be cheaper than full-time study, and you can earn while getting the qualification. However, these opportunities can be harder to find.

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.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

As there are many different paths to becoming a medical technician, where you choose to study depends on what kind of technician you want to be. At one end of the pathway spectrum, some qualifications can be completed by distance while working as a trainee in any part of New Zealand. At the other end of that spectrum, some qualifications are only offered by a few or even one provider.

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average annual income for medical technicians is estimated to be around $47,200.

Estimated Average Income

Employment and skill shortages

Medical technicians’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2024
4,818 5,901 6,170 6,450
  2.9% 0.7% 0.8%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the broader category “Agricultural, Medical and Science Technicians”.

The number of medical technicians in employment grew strongkly between 2006 and 2013. Growth is expected to continue, although at a lower rate, out to 2028.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

The specific occupations anaesthetic technician, medical laboratory technician and dialysis technician are on Immigration New Zealand's immediate skill shortage list for all regions. Medical radiation therapist and physicist are on the long-term skill shortage list for all regions.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Since 2013, the number of online job vacancies for medical technicians has grown at about the same rate as the average for all vacancies.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Medical technician vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

Medical technicians work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health-providing locations. As technicians gain more experience, they can sometimes move into senior technician positions, although it is hard for a medical technician to move into management or roles with substantially more responsibility without completing more education.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level medical technicians.

  • Anaesthetic Technician
  • Biomedical Technician
  • Cardiac Physiologist
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Physicist
  • Medical Radiation Technologist
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Sterilising Technician

Other information


More information on medical technicians is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand:
Just the Job video clip: A Career as an Anaesthetic Technician
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Medical Laboratory Science - Overview
Just the Job video clip: A Case Study in Medical Laboratory Science
Just the Job video clip: Emerging Technologies in Medcial Laboratory Science


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of medical technician has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

3112 –Medical Technicians
2512 –Medical Imaging Professionals
711914 –Sterilisation Technician