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Diagnostic Radiologist

Kaimātai Tātari Hihi Irirangi

Alternative titles for this job

Diagnostic radiologists diagnose diseases of the human body using x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine and radioactive solutions.


Trainee diagnostic radiologists usually earn

$81K-$197K per year

Qualified diagnostic radiologists usually earn

$164K-$244K per year

Source: ASMS and RDA, 2022

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a diagnostic radiologist are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for diagnostic radiologists varies depending on experience, hours, location and frequency of on-call or emergency cover.

  • Trainee diagnostic radiologists (registrars) working for a district health board usually earn between $81,000 and $197,000 a year.
  • Qualified diagnostic radiologists working for a district health board usually earn between $164,000 and $244,000.
  • Diagnostic radiologists working in the private sector can earn more than this. 

Sources: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), 'New Zealand District Health Boards Senior Medical and Dental Officers Collective Agreement, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021', 2022; and Resident Doctors' Association, 'RDA and 20 District Health Boards Multi Employer Collective Agreement 17 March 2021 to 31 March 2024', 2022.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Diagnostic radiologists may do some or all of the following:

  • advise doctors on the best examination to perform on a patient
  • explain examination procedures to patients and discuss the results with them 
  • supervise medical radiation technologists when they perform examinations
  • interpret images from radiographic examinations
  • perform biopsies (taking tissue for diagnosis) from areas such as breasts, liver and kidneys 
  • teach medical students and trainee radiologists
  • carry out research.

Skills and knowledge

Diagnostic radiologists need to have knowledge of:

  • anatomy and how the human body works
  • different diseases and illnesses
  • medicines and treatments, and the effect these have on patients
  • how to do minor surgical procedures, such as putting in stitches
  • radiographic theory and methods, and the safe handling of unsealed radioactive sources
  • research, treatments and practices
  • medical ethics and law.

Working conditions

Diagnostic radiologists:

  • usually work 40 to 60 hours a week, which may include on-call work during evenings, nights and weekends
  • work in hospitals, clinics and private practices, using x-rays, chemicals and radioactive materials
  • may travel nationally or overseas for conferences and seminars.

Entry requirements

To become a diagnostic radiologist you need to:

  • complete the Health Sciences First Year programme at Otago University, or the first year of either the Bachelor of Health Sciences or Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science at Auckland University
  • complete a five-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at Otago or Auckland University
  • work for two years as a house officer (supervised junior doctor) in a hospital
  • complete another six years as a registrar with specialist training and examinations to become a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.

You also need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, English, maths and physics.

Personal requirements

Diagnostic radiologists need to be:

  • accurate and careful, with an eye for detail
  • motivated and disciplined
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to make good decisions, and solve problems
  • excellent at analysis and interpretation
  • good at communicating and inspiring confidence in others
  • good at report writing
  • understanding of other cultures' attitudes to medical procedures.

Useful experience

Useful experience for diagnostic radiologists includes:

  • work as a medical radiation technologist
  • work in hospitals or other health-related work, such as nursing
  • work caring for people.

Physical requirements

Diagnostic radiologists need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and excellent hand-eye co-ordination.


Diagnostic radiologists need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Find out more about training

Medical Council of New Zealand
0800 286 801 -
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
(04) 472 6470 - -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Strong demand for diagnostic radiologists

Chances of getting a job as a diagnostic radiologist are good due to:

  • not enough diagnostic radiologists being trained
  • an ageing population with more health problems
  • diagnostic radiologists moving to overseas positions.

Diagnostic radiologist appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled diagnostic radiologists from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 435 diagnostic radiologists worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Diagnostic radiologists work for public and private hospitals

Most diagnostic radiologists work in public or private hospitals. Some work in university medical schools.


  • Careerforce, 'Young People Needed to Combat Health Sector Shortage', 5 May 2017, (
  • Chambers, C, Dr., 'Burnout in New Zealand's Senior Medical Profession', October 2016, (
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 19 February 2018, (
  • Keene, L, 'International Medical Migration: How Can New Zealand Compete as Specialist Shortages Intensify?', 2017, (
  • Medical Council of New Zealand, 'The New Zealand Medical Workforce', 2014, accessed March 2017, (
  • Ministry of Health, 'Health of the Health Workforce 2015', 15 February 2016, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Diagnostic radiologists may progress to teach students and trainee diagnostic radiologists. They can also become a senior consultant with responsibility for their department, or combine their duties with research or teaching.

Diagnostic radiologists may also specialise in an area such as:

Cardiovascular Radiologist
Cardiovascular radiologists specialise in heart and blood vessel imaging.
Mammographers specialise in breast imaging.
Musculoskeletal Radiologist
Musculoskeletal radiologists specialise in imaging muscles and bones.
Neuroradiologists specialise in brain imaging.
Paediatric Radiologist
Paediatric radiologists specialise in imaging for children and babies.
A female diagnostic radiologist is looking at the mammogram of a breast on a computer screen in a clinic

Diagnostic radiologists may check mammograms for disease

Last updated 23 June 2022