Kaimātai Mate Pukupuku
Radiation oncologists provide radiation treatment and management of patients with cancer and other medical conditions.
Trainee radiation oncologists usually earn
$81K-$197K per year
Experienced radiation oncologists usually earn
$164K-$244K per year
Source: ASMA and RDA, 2022.
Pay for radiation oncologists varies depending on experience, hours, location and frequency of on-call or emergency cover.
- Trainee radiation oncologists (registrars) working for Te Whatu Ora (previously DHBs) usually earn between $81,000 and $192,000 a year. In 2023 this will increase to between $86,000 and $197,000.
- Qualified radiation oncologists working for Te Whatu Ora can earn between $164,000 and $244,000.
- Radiation oncologists working in the private sector may 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'; Resident Doctors' Association, 'RDA and 20 District Health Boards Multi Employer Collective Agreement 17 March 2021 to 31 March 2024'.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Radiation oncologists may do some or all of the following:
- talk to patients about their symptoms and illnesses, and examine them
- study x-rays, images and medical reports
- discuss various treatment options with patients and their families
- plan how to manage the patient's illness
- treat the patient using radiation therapy
- monitor, support and care for patients during and after treatment
- write reports on the treatment of patients for general practitioners and other medical specialists
- teach trainee radiation oncologists
- carry out research.
Skills and knowledge
Radiation oncologists need to have knowledge of:
- cancer and how to treat it
- anatomy and how the human body works
- different diseases and illnesses
- radiation treatments, and how these affect patients
- new research, treatments and practices
- medical ethics and law.
- usually work regular business hours, but may work long hours and be on call
- work in hospitals, clinics and private practices
- work in conditions that may be stressful, as they deal with seriously ill patients
- travel to conferences locally or overseas.
To become a radiation oncologist 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 five 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.
- University of Otago website - information about the Health Sciences First Year programme
- University of Otago website - information about the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
- University of Auckland website - information about the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists website - information about radiation oncologist training
- Medical Council of New Zealand website - information on gynaecologist/obstetrician training
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.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, English, maths and physics.
Radiation oncologists need to be:
- able to make good decisions, and solve problems
- excellent at analysis and interpretation
- good at managing time
- motivated and disciplined
- able to work well under pressure
- good at communicating and inspiring confidence in others
- understanding of other cultures' attitudes to medical treatment.
Useful experience for radiation oncologists includes:
- work in hospitals or other health-related work, such as in a clinic
- work caring for people.
Radiation oncologists need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
Radiation oncologists need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.
Find out more about training
- Medical Council of New Zealand
- 0800 286 801 - email@example.com - www.mcnz.org.nz
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
- (04) 472 6470 - www.ranzcr.edu.au
What are the chances of getting a job?
Chances of getting work as a radiation oncologist are good due to:
- an ageing population with more health problems
- gaps left as radiation oncologists leave to work overseas.
Radiation oncologist appears on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled radiation oncologists from overseas to work in New Zealand.
According to the Census, 27 radiation oncologists worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Radiation oncologists work for public and private hospitals
Radiation oncologists work in public or private hospitals, or a combination of both, and may also work in university medical schools.
- Auckland Doctors, 'Radiation Oncology', accessed 2017, (www.aucklanddoctors.co.nz).
- Health Workforce New Zealand, 'Health of the Health Workforce 2015', February 2016, (www.moh.govt.nz).
- Health Workforce New Zealand, 'Radiation Oncology', January 2017, (www.kiwihealthjobs.com).
- Hedley, K, Dr., director of training for radiation oncology, Auckland region, Careers New Zealand interview, May 2017.
- Immigration New Zealand, Green List, January 2023, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Faculty of Radiation Oncology, 'The Radiation Oncology Workforce in New Zealand: Projecting Supply and Demand 2012-2022', 21 February 2013, (www.ranzcr.edu.au).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Radiation oncologists may progress to jobs in areas such as:
- teaching trainee radiation oncologists
- clinical director roles
Last updated 20 January 2023