Otolaryngology, head and neck surgery

Otolaryngology, head and neck surgery is the diagnosis and treatment (operative and non operative) of patients with disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck.

This includes cancer of the head and neck (excluding the eye and the brain), disorders of the salivary glands and thyroid gland, disorders of hearing, balance, swallowing, speech, snoring/sleep apnoea and aspects of facial plastic surgery.

Vocational training in New Zealand

Vocational training in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery is undertaken through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Once RACS training is completed the doctor is awarded the Fellowship of the RACS (FRACS) in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery.

Am I able to apply to work as a recognised specialist in New Zealand?

To apply for vocational registration in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, you need either:

  • the FRACS qualification; or
  • an international postgraduate medical qualification, where your combination of qualifications, training and experience will then be assessed against the standard of FRACS in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery.

What standard will my training, qualifications and experience be compared against?

Recognised specialists in New Zealand must complete at least 5 years of advanced training (after obtaining general medical and surgical experience) and satisfy the requirements below:

  • rotate through a minimum of 4 hospital posts
  • spend a minimum of 6 months each in paediatrics and head and neck oncology
  • complete Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CCrISP) and Australian and New Zealand Surgical Skills Education and Training (ASSET) courses before the end of their second year of training
  • before a third year of training:
    • complete the Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST) course
    • pass the generic surgical science examination, surgical science examination in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and clinical examinations
    • perform 60 temporal bone procedures
  • perform 300 A and 300 B surgical procedures before their fourth year of training
  • attend regular histopathology and radiology sessions
  • attend the Australian Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Annual General Meeting every year during training
  • attend the Robert Guerin Memorial Training Meeting from the second year of training until sitting the Fellowship examination
  • submit summaries of operative experience to the regional training committee at 6 monthly intervals during training
  • before the Fellowship examination, complete:
    • a tympanoplasty audit
    • a Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) course
    • a head and neck course
    • two temporal bone courses
    • a research project.
  • pass the Fellowship examination at the completion of training
  • participate in the RACS continuing professional development programme.

At successful completion of the examination and training requirements, the FRACS in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery will be awarded.

I want to make a vocational registration application

To make a vocational registration application, please refer to the Vocational Registration Homepage and select the option appropriate for you.

Am I able to apply for other types of registration?

You may be able to apply for more than one type of registration. To find out which is the best fit for you, please use our self assessment tool.