How does NZ Medical School Work?


What are the different specializations, how long do they take, is there residency? I am very interested in becoming a doctor because I like helping people and I really enjoy science, but I don’t understand how the medical school system works. Could someone please explain the system to me?? Thank you!!


I’m a 5th year medical student at The University of Auckland, and here is what I can say so far:

In New Zealand, the medical system is composed of the two medical schools (The University of Auckland and The University of Otago), junior doctors known as House Officers, training doctors known as Registrars, and finally Senior doctors who are Consultants.

Training to become a doctor takes 6 years at either university as an undergraduate entrant, and 5 years plus the length of an undergraduate degree for those applying as a postgraduate.

During the final year of medical school, medical students apply for Junior House Officer Jobs through the ACE Scheme which matches up all new doctors with hospitals across the country.

Doctors can attain General Scope of Practice from the Medical Council of New Zealand after two years working as a House Officer.

Once this registration process has been completed, then doctors can start applying for registrar training positions in a specialisation of their choice. There are non-accredited training jobs, as well as accredited training jobs once one meets the specific criteria of the Royal Australasian College of that specialty e.g. Royal College of Australasian Physicians, Royal College of Australasian Surgeons, Royal College of Australasian GPs, etc.

It can take a few years to be accepted onto a training scheme once attaining general registration, and this is very specialty dependent. From there, it usually takes about 5 years once on a training program to become a Consultant in your chosen specialisation, with opportunity for sub-specialisation at that point. General Practice is the exception to this which one can enter right after attaining general registration, followed by 3 years on the training program to become a fully qualified GP.

In summary, the medical system in NZ is usually 6 years in medical school, 2 years as a junior house officer, 1-4 years as a junior registrar to get into a training scheme and 5 years following that to become a fully qualified consultant.

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