On the ground and in the air, you will experience a medical career unlike anything in civilian life, providing all aspects of medical care to Air Force personnel.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Medical and Health
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Medic you will be responsible for performing a variety of medical tasks in various locations.

The medical team is a vital part of the Air Force and secondly to the New Zealand Defence Force. As a Medic your role is to provide pre-hospital primary and emergency health care, occupational, environmental and preventative medicine to the RNZAF and Defence Force in operational and static environments, often under adverse conditions on the ground and in the air. It is a demanding role, and you will need to be tough and able to keep a cool head in stressful situations.

Job on base

As a Medic, you will be posted to a Defence Health Centre where you will assist with daily duties including treating personnel with illness or injury, medical administration, minor surgery and medical cover for base emergencies. RNZAF defence health centres have personnel on standby for all military flights, both leaving and arriving on base or flying in the local area. These flights can occur any time of the day and at times you may be on call after hours to provide assistance if necessary. Medics are also involved in the provision of search and rescue operations and you may be required to provide on call and after hours support.

RNZAF units continually train for military operations, not only on base, but also in field environments. Medical support is required for field exercises such as deployed flying exercises, parachuting, survival training, weapon range activities, and recruit training. A medic will attend most field activities and provide emergency medical care in the event of an incident (on the ground or in the air) and treat any illness or injury that may occur. Medics will often find themselves in situations where they are the only health care provider readily available, and therefore you will have training in emergency medicine. This starts with basic first aid but will extend through to areas including advanced cardiac life support, advanced airway management, advanced trauma life support, and intravenous fluid therapy.

All RNZAF personnel have some first aid training. As you gain medical knowledge and experience, you will be involved in delivering this training, including CPR, first aid courses, advanced first aid for treating combat casualties, and training people who are preparing for overseas deployments.

Job on deployment

The focus for a Medic on operational duties is the maintenance of optimum health amongst deployed personnel, and provision of emergency care to deployed personnel and to the local populace as required.

You will perform duties such as daily medical consultations and treatment, checking hygiene standards, and environmental health control and prevention. You may get the opportunity to be part of forward Aeromedical Evacuation team.

You may also be involved in humanitarian aid following cyclones or tsunamis in places such as Samoa and Indonesia, or the Aeromedical Evacuation of personnel from abroad back to New Zealand.

Learning pathways

The NZDF is pleased to be partnering with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to deliver training to our medics. This will see them completing a Level 6 Diploma in Paramedic Science and a Level 7 Graduate Certificate in Health Science. 

These qualifications will be achieved through the completion of the Medic initial Training course at the Defence Health School. After graduation from Defence Health School, there is potential to continue part-time extramural clinical education with AUT towards a Bachelor of Health Science in Paramedicine.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

As a Medic, you will learn everything needed to effectively support the health requirements of NZDF personnel. From emergency medicine to sanitation, you will be trained in recognising, minimising and eliminating anything that poses a threat to the safety, health and wellbeing of NZDF personnel.

Throughout your career, you will have continuous opportunities to expand your knowledge and experience, while remaining current as a medical professional.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness

Medic training is conducted in Burnham Military Camp. Medic training is approximately two years long and is broken into two parts.

  1. Three semesters of AUT’s academic education completed at Defence Health School (DHS). In the first two semesters, you will complete a Level 6 Diploma in Paramedic Science, and in the third semester, you will complete a Level 7 Graduate Certificate in Health Science.
  2. A semester of NZDF medic training conducted at DHS by DHS instructors.

After four semesters, equivalent to two years, at DHS you will graduate with a Scope A level of practice (a level of clinical practice as per the Defence Treatment Protocols) and be posted to the Joint Support Group (JSG). JSG will place you into a Defence Health Centre for four-months of experiential development known as ‘Transition to Practice’ which will consolidate your primary health knowledge and clinical experience. Afterwards, your Scope of Practice will increase to Scope B, at which point you will be considered a fully competent Medic. Having completed the Transition to Practice Programme and been credentialed to Scope B, you will then be eligible for promotion/reclassification to LCPL/LAC/AMed.

Medics with a B Scope of Practice are considered competent and capable of fulfilling all duties of an NZDF medic and supporting the outputs of the medical trade, the Air Force and Defence Force.

Following the Transition to Practice Programme, you will continue to upskill and undertake further training in Aeromedical Evacuation utilising both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.  Throughout your career, there will be numerous and varied training opportunities both within the medical field and outside.  

To maintain your knowledge and skills, there may be opportunities to carry out clinical and emergency care placements in a civilian hospital and the pre-hospital environment.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be 17 years or older.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • A Class 1 restricted driver's license is desirable, but is not compulsory.
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your formal (tertiary) training you may be contractually obliged to carry out a return of service to the Air Force.

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