Annual Practising Certificates (APC)

You must hold a current APC to practise as a medical laboratory science or anaesthetic technician practitioner in New Zealand.

You will be granted an APC if we are satisfied that you meet the criteria set out in section 27 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. Holding a current APC means you:

  • are fit to practise
  • have maintained the standard of competence required for your scope of practice
  • have held an APC within the 3 years immediately before your application
  • have lawfully practised your profession within the 3 years immediately before the application
  • have complied with any conditions included on your scope of practice
  • have completed the requirements of any competence programme that we, the Medical Sciences Council, may have directed you to undertake
  • do not have a health condition that adversely affects your ability to practise.

It is an offence to practise without  an APC. If you do so, you may be:

  • prosecuted by the Ministry of Health and liable to a fine of up to $10,000, and
  • liable to disciplinary proceedings before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and cancellation of your registration. 

For new graduates from a New Zealand accredited programme, you are “deemed” to be competent if you apply for your first APC within a year of graduation.

APC Cycle

An APC is valid for a maximum of twelve-months between 1st April to 31st March of the following year.  An APC may be issued for a part of the relevant twelve-month period. 

If you have applied and paid for your APC but have not received it, it could be that the Council:

  • is waiting for your supervisor to confirm your competency to practice (MLT and MLPAT only)
  • is waiting for the payment to go through
  • needs to review your declaration.

Once your APC has been issued, it will be emailed to your nominated email address, and placed under the invoice/document tab in your profile.

Statutory Declarations

Every time you renew your APC, you must complete several declarations. It is an offence to falsify any declarations, and are liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $10,000. (Section 172 of the HPCA Act 2003).

Demographic Data

The Council collects workforce data on behalf of the Ministry of Health.  When you renew your APC you will be asked to record:

  • Your ethnicity. You will be able to select up to three ethnic groups.
  • Details of each health care facility where you work and the hours worked. If you work at more than one facility, you will be able to record up to three facilities.

Your demographic data collected is anonymised when provided to the Ministry of Health.

APC fees paid using bulk funding

Annual Practising Certificate (APC) renewals – how to pay 

Each year every registered practitioner must renew their Annual Practising Certificate (APC) to work. Practitioners can pay their fees individually or may have an agreement where their fees are paid for them by their employer.  

Practising without a current APC means you are doing so illegally, so please make sure you pay your fees and get your APC no later than 26 March. Note: while the final renewal date is 31 March it’s important you have applied, paid and received your APC by 26 March as there won’t be anyone available to process applications during 29 March, which is a public holiday or during the weekend  30/31 March.  

Where an employer has agreed to pay their employee's APC fee, the employer may choose to pay in a way that is referred to as ‘bulk funding’ - that is where they pay for several employee APC fees all at once. But the practitioner must apply for their APC first. 

View the process below: APC renewal fees paid using bulk funding.

Annual Practising Certificate FAQs

Why do I need an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) if I'm already a registered practitioner?

You must hold a current APC to practise as a medical laboratory science or anaesthetic technician practitioner in New Zealand. Being registered as a practitioner and holding a current APC are two different things.  

What’s the difference between being registered and holding an Annual Practising Certificate (APC)?

Being registered means you’ve applied for registration, the Council has assessed that you meet the requirements for registration, that you hold a suitable qualification and have met the fitness for registration requirements. Registration is something that you only do once 

Whereas you must renew your APC every year. For details about what it means to hold a current APC view details on this page of the website. 

How often do I need to renew my Annual Practising Certificate?

All registered practitioners must renew their Annual Practising Certificate (APC) every year – that’s how long an APC is valid for. The renewal period runs for about six weeks. This year it started on 19 February and will finish on 31 March 2024.  

However, as the Finance team need a few days to process payments (which is required to issue the APC), and because 29 March is a public holiday and 30/31 March is a weekend, we recommend you apply and pay for your APC no later than 20 March (for employers to pay bulk fees) / 26 March (for registered practitioners to apply/pay/receive their APC). 

How do I apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC)?

All registered practitioners get sent an email advising them of the need to apply for an APC within a certain period. It’s then up to you to  

  1. Go to the website and log into your ‘user profile’ 
  2. apply for your Annual Practising Certificate (APC) 
  3. a ‘SO’ number will then be generated (you’ll need to quote this and/or your registration number when paying your APC fee)
  4. Note: if practitioners have arranged with their employer, for the employer to pay the APC fees using the ‘bulk funding’ method (because they employ several practitioners), then make sure you pass the SO number onto them, along with your name/registration number and the APC fee amount to be paid.  

The employer then pays the Medical Sciences Council and emails all the relevant details to their accounts team at (the practitioner names, SO numbers and/or registration numbers and the APC fee amounts being paid). 

Please note: the Council does not send out invoices – so whether you’re paying your APC fees as an individual or your employer is paying on your behalf using the ‘bulk funding’ method, don’t wait to receive an invoice before making sure the fees are paid. 

Once I’ve applied for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) how long does it take before I get it?

Assuming you meet the criteria, and there is no further information required, you will likely receive your APC within two to five working days.  

During the APC renewal period staff will process nearly 10,000 applications – it’s a very busy time, so please be patient. If you have any queries, we recommend you check the website details first before phoning or emailing. 

Can my employer pay for my Annual Practising Certificate without me paying for it first and having to ask them for a reimbursement?

Practitioners can pay their fees individually (then request a reimbursement from their employer if that arrangement has been agreed).  

Where an employer has several practitioner employees, and they’ve arranged to pay their APC fees, they can choose to pay the fees using the ‘bulk funding’ method - this means practitioners wouldn’t have to pay the fees first and then request a reimbursement from their employer.  

What do I have to do?

Firstly, seek confirmation from your employer that they will pay the Council directly for your practising certificate. Then apply for your APC to get a SO number (which you need to give to their employer).  

Note: in addition to giving your employer a SO number you will also need to confirm your name, registration number and the amount to be paid/the APC fee. Regardless of the method used, if you wish to have a practising certificate on 1 April you must have paid before 26 March 2024, and your employer must pay (using the bulk funding method) before 20 March 2024. 

How will I know if my employer is using the bulk funding option?

You must talk with your employer, and they will advise you. If no one pays for your practising certificate, then it will not be issued.  

What happens if I don’t apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) before the cut-off period (26/31 March 2024)?

If you do not hold a current APC, you are not legally able to work. So, make sure you allow enough time to apply, pay and receive your APC. If you miss the deadline, get in touch immediately by emailing  or phone +64 4 801 6250.  

Why don't you issue invoices for bulk funding payments?

Our finance system is not currently set up to send an invoice to anyone but the person for whom it was created, ie the practitioner applying for their APC. And our system isn’t set up to issue employers with an invoice that’s been generated by a practitioner applying for their APC.

Here’s how the set-up works:

  • a practitioner goes into the portal and applies for their Annual Practising Certificate (APC)
  • this creates an SO number (Sales Order) – the practitioner then pays their APC fee
  • our finance system then gets a prompt to create an invoice (for system use only) - the practitioner will be sent a ‘remittance’ once payment has been received.

However, if the practitioner doesn’t pay their APC fee (because they have an arrangement where their employer has agreed to pay it on their behalf (as part of a ‘bulk funding’ arrangement) then the practitioner needs to provide the following information to their employer:

  • name, registration number (in case there are two people with the same name), SO number and the amount/APC fee.

The employer then emails us at with the following details:

  • a list of all employee names, their practitioner numbers, SO numbers and APC fee amounts (including the total amount being paid)
  • and pays the total amount into our bank account

Note: employers don’t have to write anything specific in the online banking transaction for our benefit (we’ll be able to line the payment up with the email details they have emailed to us).

I applied for my APC on 29/30/31 March but haven’t heard anything about when I’ll receive my certificate – will anyone be there to answer my call if I phone?

No. The office is closed for Easter Friday (29 March), however staff will be processing completed applications during the Easter break – if we have any queries about your application we’ll get in touch from 2 April.

Can I still apply for my APC after 31 March?

Yes, but you must apply AND pay for your APC before 8 April if you don’t want to incur an additional administration fee. 

What happens if I haven’t applied/paid for and received my APC by 8 April?

You’ll still be on the register but your previous APC will have expired – this means you’re not able to work legally. It is an offence to practise without a current APC. If you have any queries or concerns about this please get in touch as soon as possible.