Advantages of a career in urgent care include:

• The ability to begin work and earn well immediately. Trainees are usually readily able to find well-paid employment in an urgent care clinic. 

• The training programme is designed with the needs of part time trainees in mind. With a few exceptions, the training programme components can be done in any order, and the College accommodates a break of up to three years, for example, while raising a family. Longer breaks are also possible, when a return to training will require more detailed assessment.

• Workplaces offer flexible work hours.

• Ability to own and /or run a business, to become a medical director, or salaried or contracted employment.

Career prospects

Urgent care has grown rapidly. By Fellow numbers, it is the 13th largest of 35 branches recognised by the Medical Council of New Zealand, and by face-to-face consultations, the second largest.  Nearly a quarter of all primary medical presentations in New Zealand are to an urgent care facility. There are over two million urgent care consultations per annum.

Career options

Emergency medicine

About 30% of urgent care physicians work in hospital emergency departments. As with all doctors who are not Fellows or trainees of ACEM, they do so with a collegial relationship (as defined by the MCNZ) with an emergency medicine specialist.

Urgent care training aims to equip doctors for independent practice in community urgent care facilities. Doctors who wish to specialise in emergence medicine should contact ACEM.

Urgent care overseas

New Zealand trained urgent care physicians have found employment in urgent care facilities and emergency departments in Australia and Europe.

RNZCUC has trainees who are based in the UK and Australia, and in 2017, established an Australian faculty.

Training programme in brief

To join the urgent care training programme, complete an application form. This is  assessed by the Board of Censors, who will decide on exemptions for prior learning and experience, and remaining requirements for Fellowship.

Applicants with qualifications comparable to RNZCUC Fellowship may be eliigble for the Accelerated Pathway to Fellowship (APF).

The training programme is a four year process (less credit for prior experience). The main components are:

1) The Urgent Care Course – A one-year online course jointly provided by RNZCUC and the University of Auckland. The UCC prepares trainees for UCPEX.

2) UCPEX – An examination held in November, comprising written and and oral components.

3) Three distance-learning university papers.

4) Training programme activites:

  • Four years and 3000 hours experience (less any credit for prior experience).
  • Assignments and research paper.
  • Several practical skills courses covering a range of topics.
  • Continuing Professional Development activities including audits, peer group meetings, and Continuing Medical Education specialty clinic attendance.
  • Exit interview.

See Fellowship criteria for details.


Fellows must enter RNZCUC’s recertification programme in order to maintain vocational registration.  This includes:

  • Professional Development Plan.
  • Continuing Medical Education.
  • Audits (one per year).
  • Peer Group Meetings.
  • Approved hours experience.
  • Annual resuscitation course.