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Medical Laboratory Technician

VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

Also known as Pathology Technical Officer and Medical Laboratory Technical Officer.

Medical laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and other procedures used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human body.

Medical laboratory technicians work as part of a team with doctors, scientists and laboratory assistants.

Some areas in which medical laboratory technicians may work are:

Anatomical Pathology where they process samples of tissue that have been surgically removed from the body so that the pathologist may make a diagnosis.

Clinical Chemistry (Biochemistry) where they test blood and body fluids to determine abnormalities, often using specialised instrumentation.

Cytology where they prepare and stain smears of body tissues or fluids and examine them with a microscope, looking for cancer or cell changes that may lead to cancer.

Haematology where they examine blood, determine its type, perform blood counts and generally assist in the study of blood and its disorders in order to diagnose diseases such as leukaemia and iron deficiency anaemia.

Medical Microbiology where they receive samples such as wound swabs, urine and faeces, help to isolate and identify microorganisms associated with various diseases and infections, and examine samples for evidence of these microorganisms.


    Medical laboratory technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • set up equipment used in the laboratory and clean it after use
  • prepare and stain slides of microorganisms for microscopic examination
  • under supervision, collect blood samples, perform blood counts and carry out tests to determine bleeding, coagulation time, blood types and other characteristics
  • communicate results of tests to the medical officers who have requested them


  • attention to detail
  • able to work accurately and with minimal supervision
  • able to do repetitive work without losing concentration
Good Outlook
Good Outlook for this career!

Interest Area

Medical Technical/Engineering


Phlebotomist - practises the drawing of blood for therapeutic, transfusion, diagnostic or experimental purposes.


VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

To become a medical laboratory technician you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in laboratory technology or laboratory operations. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education.

You can also become a medical laboratory technician through a traineeship in Laboratory Technology.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Graduates from accredited courses may be eligible for membership of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists (AIMS). Some employers require eligibility for professional membership of AIMS. Visit their website for more information.


Medical laboratory technicians are employed primarily in pathology practices or hospital laboratories. There are also opportunities with other government authorities such as agriculture departments and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and at universities.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Medical Laboratory Technician Australian Institute of Medical Scientists ACT Health NSW Health

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