The Road Map to Becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Australia

Dec 29, 2023 6 min read
Medical Laboratory Scientist in Australia

Key Takeaways: 

  • Understand the various roles and responsibilities of a Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • The process of registering as a medical laboratory scientist in Australia
  • Visa options and settling in Australia

Introduction

In Australia, most scientifically and technically educated and trained individuals in medical laboratory science are employed in public hospitals or private medical pathology laboratories.

To become a registered medical laboratory scientist in Australia, overseas-trained professionals typically need to go through a process of assessment and recognition of their qualifications by the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists (AIMS) or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The Australian Institute of Medical and Clinical Scientists (AIMS) has been specified by the Migration Regulations 1994 as the assessing authority for the occupations of Medical Laboratory Scientist ANZSCO 234611 and Medical Laboratory Technician ANZSCO 311213. 

Applicants who wish to apply to migrate to Australia as a Medical Laboratory Scientist or Medical Laboratory Technician under the General Skilled Migration Visa categories will need to have their skills assessed by AIMS. AIMS will assess applicants as “suitable” or “not suitable” for the nominated occupation against the requirements it has established.

About Medical Laboratory Science / Laboratory Medicine in Australia

Medical Laboratory Scientists: They are generally employed in medical pathology laboratories, and they work in the field of laboratory medicine. 

They conduct medical laboratory tests on blood, body fluids, and tissues and apply knowledge and methodology from various scientific disciplines to assist clinicians in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases that affect humans.

Responsibilities include the quality and reliability of test results and may include interpretation of these results and the development of new test procedures.

Medical Laboratory Technicians: They perform or assist with laboratory tests on blood, body fluids and tissues in medical pathology laboratories under the direction of medical laboratory scientists and operate diagnostic equipment used in producing test results.

Tasks included:

  • Preparing tissue sections for microscopic examination
  • Testing and analysing samples to study the effects of microbial infections
  • Coming up with different techniques to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases or sleep disorders
  • Advising Medical Practitioners on the interpretation of tests and methods used in diagnosis and treatment
  • Establishing the steps and rules of medical testing
  • Operating and maintaining laboratory and testing equipment
  • Maintaining laboratory and testing quality assurance and safety standards
  • Preparing scientific papers and report

How Much Does a Medical Laboratory Scientist Make in Australia?

The average medical laboratory scientist’s salary in Australia is $80,543 per year or $41.30 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $78,933 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $116,286 per year.

Steps for registering as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Australia

Step 1: Meeting the English Language Proficiency Requirements

If English is not your first language, you may need to demonstrate English language proficiency by taking an approved English language test, such as the IELTS or TOEFL.

All applicants must provide an English proficiency test report. There are no exemptions to this requirement. AIMS considers the English proficiency test report to be valid if it is received by AIMS with your skills assessment application within three years from the test date. AIMS will only accept one of the following English language test reports:

TESTMODULESCORE REQUIRED
IELTSAcademicOverall and individual band score of 7.0
PTEAcademicOverall score of 65 points or higher
OET A minimum of grade B or a score of 350

Step 2: Document Evaluation

The skills and qualifications of applicants who do not hold an AIMS-accredited degree will be assessed individually to determine eligibility to sit the examination. Contact AIMS to inquire about the specific requirements for overseas-trained medical laboratory scientists.

Submit your academic transcripts, qualifications, and any other required documents for assessment. This process will determine if your qualifications are equivalent to Australian standards.

The minimum requirements are:

  • That an applicant has completed an acceptable science degree and
  • A minimum of two years of full-time (or part-time equivalent) postgraduate professional experience in a medical pathology laboratory, one year of which must be completed wholly within the five years immediately before applying for assessment, will usually be assessed as eligible to sit the AIMS Professional Examination.

Step 3: Writing the AIMS Medical Laboratory Scientist Professional Examination

The AIMS exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions with single responses to be completed in three hours. A student is supposed to give 80 correct answers in a 3-hour period to clear the exam. There is no negative marking in this exam.

  • The examination is conducted twice a year, in March and September, using online remote proctored software.
  • Remote proctoring involves sitting the exam under live supervision using your computer’s webcam and mobile phone in a suitable location with reliable internet connectivity.
  • The examination consists of seven sections covering the following professional disciplines: Anatomical Pathology, Chemical Pathology, Genomic Pathology, Haematology, Immunopathology, Medical Microbiology, and Transfusion Science.

The distribution of questions for each professional discipline is indicated below.

Questions must be attempted in all sections, and those disciplines asterisked (*) must be passed (i.e., at least 50% in each discipline). To pass the examination, 80 questions must be answered correctly.

Applicants who are successful in the examination will be classified as suitable for the occupation of Medical Laboratory Scientist ANZSCO 234611 and Medical Laboratory Technician ANZSCO 311213.

Step 4: Registering with AHPRA

Once your qualifications are recognised, you can apply for registration as a medical laboratory scientist in Australia.

AHPRA is the national agency that stands responsible for the registration and accreditation of health professionals in Australia. Register with them and follow their guidelines for the application process.

Step 5: Visa Options After the AIMS Exam to Migrate to Australia

As soon as you are registered as a medical laboratory scientist/technician to practise in Australia, you will have several options, and you may apply for a General Skilled Migration Visa. This 189 Visa enables you to live, work and study in Australia permanently.

Other Visa options are under Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa), Subclass 491 (Regional Sponsored Visa), Subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa), and Subclass 494 (Skilled employer-sponsored Regional Visa. Subclass 407 (Training Visa).

To apply for a skilled Visa, you need to find out how many points you can score. The minimum score to be eligible for application is 65 points. However, depending on your occupation, your competitiveness, and the states you are applying to, you might be required to score more points to receive an invitation.

Calculate your points here.

Conclusion

It's essential to contact AIMS or AHPRA directly to get the most accurate and up-to-date information on the requirements and procedures for overseas-trained medical laboratory scientists in Australia. They can provide guidance on your specific situation and help you navigate the registration process.

If you need more information about the AIMS exam, you can visit the AIMS website

Becoming a medical laboratory scientist or technician in Australia requires a certain amount of preparation. Academically will provide you with the necessary material for the preparation of the exam with their AIMS Exam Preparation Course. This course is entirely online, and you can study at your own pace.

And don’t worry! Everything from the document preparation to a smooth migration will be taken care of by Academically. You will also receive training from experienced mentors and comprehensive study materials. All you need to focus on is preparing well and doing your best.

Drop us an email at contact@academically.com

FAQ

Q. How much should you score in your PTE exam before writing the AIMS exam?

Ans. You must score at least 65 points in each of the 4 components of the test.

Q. What are the Visa options for overseas medical laboratory scientists?

Ans. 189 Permanent Visa, Skilled Independent 190 Permanent Visa, State Sponsored 491 Provisional Visa and Regional Skilled Work Visa.

Q. When is the AIMS exam held?

Ans. The exam is generally conducted twice a year: March and September.

Dr. Indu K
Dr. Indu K
about the author

Dr. Indu K is a dentist with one year of clinical experience. She seamlessly transitioned into content writing three years ago. Her passion lies in making complex medical information accessible to everyone. She uses her unique blend of medical knowledge and exceptional writing skills to bridge the gap between healthcare and the general audience.