Within medicine there are more than 60 different specialties. With so many vocational training programmes to choose from, it can be difficult to decide between them. For this reason, Health Workforce New Zealand has collaborated with the medical colleges to bring together all the information you need in the form of factsheets, to support you in making your career choices.

It is never too early to start planning your medical career and it's always useful to know what options exist. The factsheets will help you identify the vocations you might be interested in - you might even discover you like the idea of something you never knew existed. Some programmes can be very competitive to enter and it is important to know well in advance what experience is required and personal qualities that are sought after by particular colleges, so you can apply without any nasty surprises which may delay your career.

Each of the factsheets provides the same information to help you to make a well-informed decision. This information includes:

  • A brief overview of the specialty
  • Personal qualities suited to the specialty
  • Specialty training programme information (including how long it takes to train, and what training involves)
  • Entry requirements, application process, and selection criteria
  • Demand for vocational training posts, the number of training positions and number of current SMOs by region

A diverse range of people have chosen a career in medicine, and they have chosen to work in a number of different specialties depending on their skills and personal qualities. Different specialties require particular skills such as an ability to make decisions in life-threatening situations, have manual dexterity, an interest in teaching, or confidence with computers. There are so many options out there that you can choose a specialty that involves skills that align with your strengths and interests.

No matter how far through your training you are, the factsheets will be able to answer your questions and steer you in the right direction.

The factsheets will progressively be updated as more information becomes available. The latest information is based on the Ministry of Health's September 2015 RMO and SMO census

Postgraduate Education

The Universities of Otago and Auckland offer postgraduate education opportunities in a range of medical specialities.
For further information about qualifications which align with training in this vocational discipline please go to:

Additionally, some medical colleges provide very specific information about their training programmes - we have provided plenty of links directly to the respective webpage or training handbook so that you can do further reading if you wish.

The information in these factsheets has been written for people who are already training in medicine. If you are considering a career in medicine and would like an overview as opposed to specific information on each of the vocational scopes, then please see The Occupation Outlook 2016 published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The MBIE factsheet provides an excellent overview of:

  • how to become a doctor
  • cost of study, medical schools and registration process
  • details on requirements of early training years and career paths
  • income and employment prospects