How to become an Orthopaedic Surgeon

To become an orthopaedic surgeon an applicant must have a basic medical degree and at least two years post graduate experience. The training takes a minimum of five years where the trainee is employed as a registrar and rotated through a range of accredited New Zealand hospitals. The curriculum is a mixture of practical operating competencies, communication skills and formal theoretical examinations. Progress is reviewed annually by the NZOA Education Committee.  On successful completion the applicant will receive a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and be able to become vocationally registered as an orthopaedic surgeon with the New Zealand Medical Council. The training is completed jointly through the College (RACS) and the NZOA Education Committee, contact is through Prue Elwood.

Important notice for applicants to SET Selection from 2016 onwards

The NZOA Education Committee has recently agreed that all who apply for SET Selection from 2016  must have passed the Generic Surgical Science Exam (SSE) prior to applying.   

Details about the exam can be found on the RACS website 

2018 Intake Surgical Education Training (SET) Application Process

Applications for the 2018 training year have now closed.   Please check this webpage in November 2017 for updated information about applications for the 2019 training year.

All applicants must pre-register with RACS, even if they have previously applied. Applicants must be a NZ citizen or have NZ Residency and be registered with the NZ Medical Council.  Registration for 2019 selection will open in January 2018.    In 2017 ten trainees were selected to begin training in December 2017.    

Selection Timetable for 2018

AEDT - Australian Daylight Saving Time 

AEST Australian Eastern Standard Time

  • Selection registration to RACS opens Thursday 4 January 2018 - 12.00pm AEDT
  • Selection registration to RACS closes Friday 2 February 2018 - 5.00pm AEDT
  • NZOA Selection applications opens Wednesday 28 February 2018 - 12.00pm AEDT
  • NZOA Selection applications closes Wednesday 28 March 2018 - 12.00pm AEDT
  • Referee reporting opens Thursday 26 April 2018 AEST
  • Referee reporting closes Wednesday 23 May 2018 - 5.00pm AEST
  • Interviews Friday 29 June 2018 
  • Announcement of offers Monday 2 July 2018

2018 applications (updated information will be available in November 2017)

It is important that you read the Selection  Regulations Surgical Education and Training Program Orthopaedic Surgery 2019 Intake BEFORE applying as these detail the Selection Process.    

Please note you can apply using the electronic form or by hard copy - one or the other however electronic is preferred. - link to electronic form.   Will be available from 28 February 2018.

  • This form will allow you to enter all your application details and can be saved as you go. 
  • Access is login and password controlled. Simply click on this link and you will be emailed a password.  
  • This form will allow you to browse and upload all your supporting documentation - you can add and delete attachments as required. 
  • It is recommended that you save as you move through the form.
  • Once you have completed a page check the box at the bottom of the page - you will be prompted for any missing information.
  • Once you have completed the form you can submit the form and it is recommended that you print each page for your records.
  • Please be aware that once you submit the form, you will no longer have any access to the form.
  • Your application will be acknowledged by NZOA and you will be invoiced for your application fee of $800.
  • If you have any problems, concerns or questions please contact Prue Elwood at or 04 913 9898
Or alternatively use:-

Application form for 2017 - application form

2018 CV marking guide

SET Program in Orthopaedic Surgery: Training Regulations

Following links have further information