How To Become A Doctor In New Zealand

allthingsmedicine how to become a doctor in new zealand

New Zealand is one of the top destinations for foreign doctors. It offers higher living standards, a better lifestyle, numerous job opportunities, and beautiful sceneries. In this article, I will guide you on how to become a doctor in New Zealand.

What are the benefits of becoming a doctor in New Zealand?

There are abundant resources, facilities and attractions that entice foreign doctors to relocate to New Zealand. 

  • New Zealand offers a better quality of life. It has magnificent landscapes, less pollution and more natural resources. 
  • New Zealand’s population is also relatively less and has a very secure environment. Perfect for doctors wishing to relocate along with the family. 
  • It provides a laid-back lifestyle, making it ideal for doctors seeking the ideal work-life balance.
  • The government is progressive and least corrupt. It is focused on the wellbeing of citizens. New Zealand also has relatively low tax rates. 
  • New Zealand’s citizens are friendly and welcoming. It is a place inhabited by immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
  • English is the predominant language. So, there will be no language barriers. English is a rather easy language to learn as well.
  • There are many job opportunities for doctors as medical professionals are in high demand in New Zealand. 
  • They have good medical schools with affordable accommodation.
  • They have one of the best healthcare systems and the government is working to progress it further. 

How to become a doctor in New Zealand?

Have a strong command over English

English is used as a primary language by the majority of people living in New Zealand. It is used in medical schools as well. So, it is not a problem for native English speakers. Foreign doctors who are not native English speakers will have to take the IELTS exam or OET (Occupational English Test) to demonstrate their language skills.

Familiarity with the predominant language of a country is of utmost importance for the doctors as it helps in communicating with the patients. 

Qualify for a medical university

There are two prestigious medical universities in New Zealand: University of Auckland and University of Otago

High school grades are not of much importance when it comes to getting admission in a medical university in New Zealand. Instead, to get admission in either of these universities, you must complete a 1 year pre-medicine degree followed by UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and multiple mini interviews (MMI).

The pre-medicine degrees offered at The University of Auckland are biomedical science and health science while the degree offered The University of Otago is health science. 

Take the UCAT

UCAT is the second step of getting admission in a medical university. It is an entrance test that tests the candidate’s capabilities and intelligence. 


The final stage in securing admission to a medical university is an interview. There are eight stations during the interview, with each station receiving an allotment of 8 to 10 minutes. Candidates must first read the question before responding. Examiners evaluate candidates based on their originality, logic, and argumentative strength, among other factors.

Bachelor’s degree

The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) lasts for 6 years. The first two years are theory based. Starting 3rd year, students get limited clinical exposure. 4th and 5th years are clinical-based. The students sit for their final exams at the end of the 5th year. The result of these exams determine whether you are ready for your final year or not.

Intern at a hospital

The final year consists of an internship at a hospital. During the internship, a student receives a lot of exposure and experience.

Work as a house officer


The students must work as a house officer for a year. They can apply for it while they are still in their 6th or final year. As a house officer, the students work as a junior doctor with hands-on experience in different areas of medicine along with handling and managing patients directly under the supervision of senior doctors. 

Get registered with Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ)

After you have graduated from medical university, you will be granted a provisional registration by the Medical Council of New Zealand. After completing a year as a House Officer, you can apply for complete registration to earn your medical license after which you can work as a Registrar doctor anywhere in New Zealand. 


If you wish to work as a specialist, you must enter a training program. You can enroll at a training program of the area you want to specialize in which can take about 4 to 6 years depending on the specialty. 

How to become a doctor in New Zealand if you are a foreign national?

Well, it is better to study medicine from New Zealand only if you wish to practice there. However, if you are an international student who wishes to work in New Zealand, then you need to get registered with MCNZ first to earn a medical license. You can do so by providing your degree, credentials and other documents. 

For further information, you can visit this link

The bottom line

The road to becoming a doctor is a long and challenging one; however if you are passionate about it and willing to put in the hard work, it will be worth it in the end. I hope this article clears any questions that you may have had about how to become a doctor in New Zealand. 

To sum it up, you need to qualify for a medical university, complete your 6-years bachelors degree and work as a house officer for a year. After that, you can get registered with MCNZ and earn your medical license. After earning the license, you can work as a doctor anywhere in New Zealand. If you wish to specialize, you can apply for a training program. Depending on the field you choose to specialize in, it can last anywhere between 4 and 6 years. 

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