Pay varies for psychiatrists and registrars (those in training), depending on seniority, hours, location and frequency of on-
call or emergency cover.
Registrars working for a district health board (DHB) usually earn between $72,000 and $178,000 a year.
Qualified psychiatrists working for a DHB usually earn between $152,000 and $217,000.
Psychiatrists working in the private sector may earn up to $600,000.
Sources : Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), '2013 to 2016 National DHB Collective Agreement (MECA)', 2014;
Resident Doctors' Association, '2017 to 2018 DHB Collective Agreement', 2017.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Psychiatrists may do some or all of the following :
study patients' medical and psychiatric histories
understand patients' mental health state by talking with them
provide personalised treatments such as talking therapy or meditation
carry out tests, such as blood tests, to determine treatment
prescribe and monitor medication
work with patients and their families / whānau to understand patients' likely responses to treatment
work with other team members, such as nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists, to provide assessments and intervention, and co-
ordinate rehabilitation and recovery programmes
mentor trainee psychiatrists
prepare reports and give evidence in court
advocate for improved services for people with mental health issues.
Skills and knowledge
Psychiatrists need to have knowledge of :
how to diagnose psychiatric disorders
how the brain and the human body work
different diseases and illnesses, both mental and physical
medicines and treatments, and the effects these have on patients
medical ethics and law
new research, treatments and practices in their field.
usually work regular business hours, but may also be on call in evenings or weekends
usually work in community mental health centres, hospitals or clinics
may care for very distressed people, which can be stressful
may travel locally and overseas to attend conferences.
To become a psychiatrist you need to :
complete the Health Sciences First Year programme at the University of Otago, 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
work for one to two years as a house officer (supervised junior doctor) in a hospital
complete another five years of training through the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Fellowship programme.
This includes on-the-job training in different specialisations, and passing examinations to become a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
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.
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include maths, chemistry, physics, biology and English.
Psychiatrists need to be : compassionate
good at observing, listening and communicating
understanding of other cultures' attitudes to medical treatment
able to communicate with people from various cultures
able to manage their time and work well under pressure
skilled at analysing and interpreting information
good decision makers and problem solvers.
Useful experience for psychiatrists includes :
work in hospitals or other health-related work, such as in a clinic
work involving psychology or counselling
work in support and advice services such as Lifeline or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Psychiatrists need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.