A brief guide for international dermatologists who are considering working in New Zealand

The New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated (NZDSI) is not involved with the regulation of international dermatologists. This is a function of the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and NZDSI supports this process.

MCNZ Getting Registered site has detailed information.

There are five scopes of practice and seven pathways for international dermatologists wishing to register in New Zealand (listed below) provided the basic MCNZ requirements for registration are fulfilled. These are administered by MCNZ. Applications for registration in the provisional general, general and special purpose scopes take 20 working days to process from the time a complete application is received. Provisional vocational applications take six months to process from the time of receiving a complete application and vocational applications take two months to process. Many international dermatologists will work in one of the first three scopes before proceeding to apply for provisional vocational registration.

  1. Provisional general scope (UK and Irish Medical graduates pathway; comparable health system pathway; Australian general registrants pathway)
  2. General scope (NZ and Australian graduates pathway)
  3. Special purpose scope (locum tenens pathway)
  4. Provisional vocational scope (VOC3 pathway)
  5. Vocational (VOC2 pathway)

MCNZ pathways take into account qualifications, training and experience.

All pathways (except for vocational) require direct supervision from a New Zealand fully (vocationally) registered dermatologist.

To work independently as a dermatologist in New Zealand full vocational registration is required by MCNZ.

To obtain provisional vocational registration, an applicant will need to have an assessment undertaken of their qualifications, training and experience against the standard of a New Zealand vocationally trained doctor registered in the vocational scope of dermatology, holding Fellowship of the Australasian College of Physicians in Dermatology (FRACP Dermatology). The assessment may include a paper-based assessment and an interview with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The interview will be undertaken by two vocationally registered doctors who will ask about training, qualifications and experience. A report is sent to the MCNZ. If the applicant is eligible for registration, the MCNZ will decide the pathway requirements to obtain full vocational registration. Pathway requirements may include a period of supervised practice and then a vocational practice assessment (VPA) prior to full vocational registration. Requirements vary depending on the applicants training, qualifications and experience.

A VPA is conducted through the MCNZ and involves a 360 review of the dermatologist. It is a one-day assessment and looks at all domains of the dermatologist’s practise. It is undertaken by two experienced New Zealand vocationally registered dermatologists trained in VPA assessments. The MCNZ considers the report written by the two dermatologists when assessing the application for full vocational registration.

Once fully vocationally registered, the dermatologist can practise independently including prescribing specialist only medications and apply for membership of the NZDSI which is the professional body representing New Zealand Dermatologists.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement of vocationally trained dermatologists in New Zealand. All members of the NZDSI must undertake the CPD program administered by the NZDSI CPD Committee which is accredited by the MCNZ.

November 2023