Doctor jobs in New Zealand: everything you need to know

Doctor jobs NZ

Many international doctors (or IMGs) look to make the move to New Zealand for a change of pace, a safe environment to raise a family, or better working conditions.

There are many opportunities for doctors in New Zealand both in the bustling metropolitans and the rural country scapes.

If you're IMG thinking of making the move, here's answers to your frequently asked questions.

What does a doctor earn in NZ?

With an average salary of NZD $191,060 a doctor is the second highest paying job in New Zealand in 2024.

However, it is important to note that salaries of doctors vary widely depending on their role, experience, and the type of practice or specialty they are involved in. Generally, doctors' remuneration in New Zealand is competitive, reflecting the skill, responsibility, and importance of their work in the healthcare system.

Junior doctors, or Resident Medical Officers (RMOs), who are in the early stages of their postgraduate training, typically earn between NZD $70,000 and NZD $120,000 per year. This range varies based on their year of work and the hours they put in, including any additional on-call duties.

Registrars, who are doctors undergoing specialised training, can expect to earn between NZD $95,000 and $180,000 annually. This again depends on their experience, the number of years they’ve been in the system, and their specialty area.

Consultants or Specialists, who have completed their training and are fully qualified in a particular area of medicine, can earn anywhere from NZD $150,000 to over NZD $300,000 per year. Highly experienced specialists or those in more lucrative specialties can earn significantly more and those in private practice could be earning NZD $600,000 or more.

It’s also worth noting that many medical roles in New Zealand offer additional benefits such as professional development opportunities, allowances for on-call work, and employer contributions to retirement savings, which can add substantial value to the overall remuneration package.

Overall, while the pay scales for doctors in New Zealand are subject to various factors, the medical profession is generally well-compensated, reflecting the high level of expertise and dedication required in this field.

According to

Physicians who work for Te Whatu Ora Health NZ (previous DHBs)

  • House officers (supervised junior doctors) can earn $64,000 to $145,000 a year.
  • Registrars (trainee physicians) can earn $80,000 to $205,000.
  • Qualified physicians can earn $170,000 to $251,000.

Are doctors needed in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, the demand for doctors across various specialties remains high, reflecting a global trend in healthcare needs. The country's healthcare system, comprising both public and private sectors, continuously seeks skilled physicians to address the growing and diverse health needs of its population.

General Practitioners (GPs) and family physicians are particularly in demand in these areas to provide essential primary care services. There is also a growing need for specialists in areas such as geriatrics, mental health, and emergency medicine, driven by an aging population and increasing awareness of mental health issues.

Hospitals in urban centers are also on the lookout for doctors across a range of specialties to meet the healthcare needs of a growing and diverse urban population. New Zealand's commitment to improving healthcare outcomes for its indigenous Maori and Pacific Islander populations has led to initiatives aiming to recruit doctors who can contribute to culturally competent care.

The country offers attractive opportunities for overseas-trained doctors, supported by streamlined processes for recognition and registration. This has made New Zealand a popular destination for international medical professionals looking for a balance of professional growth and quality of life.

How to make the move:

New Zealand is looking for healthcare workers of all specialties and you may be eligible for visa priority. We have an in-house immigration advisor who can chat with you about the right medical pathway, what positions we have available, and all the logistics of making your move.

There are several pathways for overseas trained doctors to come and work in New Zealand. The choice of pathways differs for junior and senior doctors, but all pathways take into account a combination of qualifications and experience. All pathways require overseas doctors to complete a period of supervised practice and some can require additional exams or training as advised by the Medical Council.

The key pathways we work with are:


  • Competent Authority: Doctors who have completed both their Medical Degree and Internship training in either the UK or Ireland are eligible for medical registration via this pathway. If a UK or Irish grad has completed an internship in another country, they can apply to the Medical Council for recognition of that internship for the potential to also be considered eligible for this pathway. To apply for this role, applicants will need to have a job offer from a New Zealand hospital and will need to complete six months of supervised practice.

  • Comparable Healthcare System pathway: The Medical Council have designated twenty-four healthcare systems as being comparable to those in New Zealand. If an applicant has worked thirty-three out of the last forty-eight months in a comparable healthcare system, they can be granted registration to work in the same area of medicine, at the same level. These candidates must work under supervision for twelve months.


  • Locum Tenens: If an applicant holds one of the approved qualifications and a job offer, they can be granted Special Purpose Locum Tenens registration for twelve months. They require supervision for the entire time.

  • Vocational: This is the complete assessment needed for a candidate to work in NZ as a specialist. If they hold an overseas postgraduate qualification, they can apply to have this and their subsequent experience assessed by the relevant medical college to determine how it compares to the local training. The outcome of this assessment determines their comparability and what they are required to do in order to gain full registration.

Is there a shortage of doctors in New Zealand?

New Zealand currently faces a shortage of doctors, a situation mirrored in many parts of the world. This shortage is particularly pronounced in rural and remote areas, where access to healthcare is more challenging. General Practitioners (GPs) and family doctors are in high demand to provide primary care services in these communities. Additionally, there is an increasing need for specialists in fields such as geriatrics, mental health, and emergency medicine. The New Zealand government and healthcare organisations are actively taking steps to address this gap, including initiatives to attract and retain medical professionals and streamline the process for overseas-trained doctors.

This means as an IMG your chances of getting a job as a physician are good due to a shortage of workers.

If you got your medical degree in the UK or Ireland we can help you with your medical pathway to working in New Zealand. Please register for more information.

Find out everything you need to know about moving to Australia or New Zealand in our free IMG Guide.
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Are doctors paid well in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, doctors are generally well-compensated, with salaries reflecting the importance and skill required for their profession. The remuneration varies depending on factors such as specialty, experience, location, and whether they work in the public or private sector. General Practitioners (GPs) have a good earning potential, which increases with experience and additional qualifications. Specialists and consultants, particularly in high-demand areas, can expect even higher salaries.

Yes, in 2024 working as a doctor is considered the second highest paying job in New Zealand. In recent data released by, it is ranked higher than even law or engineering.

As of 2024, the average New Zealand wage is NZD $97,300 per year, with doctors of most grades and specialties earning above this.

Known for its rugged scenery and laidback culture, New Zealand offers its residents a desirable lifestyle and a great place to settle down and raise a family. New Zealand's balanced lifestyle, which, when coupled with competitive salaries, makes it an attractive destination for medical professionals seeking both professional and personal fulfillment.

Which doctor has the highest salary in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, doctor pay varies depending on grade, location, and specialty. Lots of factors come into play, but figures suggest that the highest paying doctor jobs in New Zealand are for senior physicians in the private sector – up to $600,000 annually. That’s more than six times the national average!

We hope you found these answers to questions frequently asked by IMGs helpful. If you are ready to take the next step in making the move, register here. Our service is completely free, and we will guide you through the entire process.

Medrecruit Editorial Team
12 January 2023Article by Medrecruit Editorial TeamMedrecruit Editor