Recognition and accreditation of vocational scopes of practice

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) requires us to specify the scopes of practice within which doctors are permitted to practice, and to describe and define the boundaries of each.

We have 36 recognised vocational scopes of practice.

Recognised vocational scopes of practice

Currently, Council has 36 recognised vocational scopes of practice. These are areas of specialised medical practice, each defined by an accredited postgraduate training programme and qualification. Council accredits the training and recertification programmes against the relevant standards.

Council recognises that each scope of practice must be supported by a robust training programme, delivering an appropriate qualification for that scope, and that doctors registered in that new scope need to have access to a recertification programme directed to maintaining competence in that scope.

To be recognised, each scope must therefore have:

  • a defined body of knowledge and practice
  • a recognised health need

an acceptable training programme with a nationally recognised qualification

  • an acceptable recertification programme
  • a national organisation with the authority to advise us on vocational scopes

Recognition of new vocational scopes of practice in New Zealand

All applications for new vocational scopes of practice and associated training programmes in New Zealand must meet the Council's Standards for recognition of vocational scopes of practice. This is currently a two-stage process, and you can download information below.

Should you have any queries regarding this, please email

Accreditation of Australasian providers

The Medical Council of New Zealand (Council) and the Australian Medical Council  (AMC) work together on the accreditation of vocational medical training programmes offered by Australasian (joint Australian and New Zealand) vocational providers.

You can access information relating to the joint standards and joint processes via the AMC’s website .

Australasian providers must also meet additional criteria to standards 3.2, 8.2, 9.1, 9.3 and 10.1. You can access this information below.

Accreditation of New Zealand providers

You can download below, the standards for accreditation of programmes offered by providers that operate in New Zealand only.

For more information in relation to accreditation of New Zealand vocational colleges, please email us at