How to become a Trainee on the NZOA Training Programme

2020 SET Selection Regulations have closed

SET Selection Timetable (for 2021 intake)

You can only apply to Selection in Orthopaedic Surgery if you have been notified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons that you are eligible.  

SET Regulations 2020

Addenum to SET Regulations 2020 RACS

Please note all applications are through our online application system only, applications are now closed.

  • Access is login and password controlled.  
  • The online application requires you to complete the application in STEP's and submit after each one, you must upload all your supporting documentation.
  • Once a STEP is completed and submitted you will be emailed a copy.
  • Before commencing make sure you have all supporting information needed for each STEP, you cannot save and come back to add documentation.
  • Please be aware that once you submit each STEP it will be saved and you will no longer have any access.
  • No extensions will be granted, we recommend completing and submitting well before the due date.
  • Your application will be acknowledged by NZOA in due course.
  • You will receive an automated invoice for the NZ$950 +gst application fee, if you wish to pay by credit card please contact
  • If you have any questions please contact Prue Elwood at or 04 913 9898
  • It is important that you read the SET REGULATIONS BEFORE applying as these detail the Selection Process.   

Orthopaedic Surgery Specialty Specific Eligibility Criteria:
In addition to the generic eligibility requirements, applicants to the SET Programme in Orthopaedic Surgery must also meet the following specific eligibility requirements: (Page 6 SET Regulations):
3.2.1 Have completed a minimum of 52 weeks of Orthopaedics at Registrar level or above prior to Wednesday 25th March 2020 (the closing date for applications).
3.2.2 In addition, applicants who have been in full time study/research in a medically related discipline within the past two years are eligible to apply if they have since completed 26 weeks of Orthopaedics at Registrar level prior to Wednesday 25th March 2020.
3.2.3 Have completed a minimum of 12 weeks in an Emergency Department. The Emergency run requirement needs to be in a hospital level emergency department.
3.3 Examinations:
3.4.2 Must have successfully completed the Generic Surgical Sciences Examination (GSSE) at the time of application.
3.4.3 Successfully completed the Clinical Exam (CE) at the time of application from the 2022 application year.

You must complete each Step in one session and submit.

Make sure you have the correct files and enough time to complete before starting.

Note: ED requirement is 12 weeks minimum, no requirement to have been completed within last 5 years.

How to complete the application:

Step 1 you will need the following files:
  • A recent passport style photo of yourself
  • Residency documentation (photo page of your passport; birth certificate; residency status, citizenship certificate)
  • RMO Unit/Hospital/employer administration letter/s with dates and durations as evidence of a qualifying Orthopaedic run/s
  • RMO Unit/Hospital/employer administration letter with dates and durations as evidence of a qualifying Emergency Department run
  • Generic Surgical Science Exam result sheet (if completed)

Step 3 you will need the following files:

  • RMO/employer letter/s detailing relevant surgical and medical experience/s (as applicable)
  • RACS or equivalent transcript/certificate for each Skill Course completed (as applicable)
  • University transcript or enrolment confirmation for anatomy course/experience (as applicable)

Step 4 you will need the following files:

  • University transcript or appropriate validating documentation for each qualification (as applicable)
  • A copy of your research project for each project (as applicable)
  • Timetable/schedule detailing presentation title and presenter name for each presentation (as applicable)
  • Article or letter of acceptance from publisher for each publication (as applicable)

Step 5 - Leadership and Community Contribution

Step 6 - Clinical Rotations

Step 7 - Referees

Step 8 - Hospital Post Preferences and Declaration

If you have any queries, please email

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

To receive a copy of the Reconsideration, Review and Appeals Mechanism please contact

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 (GSSE) prior to applying.  Details about the exam can be found on the RACS website 

All applicants must have pre-registered 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.    

Following links have further information