Medical Laboratory Scientists conduct medical laboratory tests to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is required and nearly all workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed.

Tasks

  • preparing tissue sections for microscopic examination
  • examining and analysing samples to study the effects of microbial infections
  • analysing samples of body tissue and fluids to develop techniques to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases
  • advising Medical Practitioners on the interpretation of tests and methods for use in the diagnosis and treatment of disease
  • setting up the steps and rules of laboratory medical testing
  • operating and maintaining laboratory equipment
  • maintaining laboratory quality assurance and safety standards
  • preparing scientific papers and reports

Job Titles

  • Medical Laboratory Scientist, Hospital Scientist, or Medical Scientific Officer

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      $1,469 Before Tax
    • Future Growth

      very strong
    • Skill Level

      Bachelor Degree or higher
    • Employment Size

      19300
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      32.8%
    • Female Share

      67.2%
    • Full-Time Share

      71.6%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a medium sized occupation employing 19,300 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen slightly.
    Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

    • Medical Laboratory Scientists work in most parts of Australia.
    • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Education and Training.
    • Full-time work is common. Full-time workers, on average, work 37.5 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,469 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • The average age is 39 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
    • Around 7 in 10 workers are female.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200515700
    200617400
    200717400
    200820300
    200921500
    201020300
    201119500
    201222100
    201315100
    201418900
    201519300
    202023500

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsMedical Laboratory ScientistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings14691230

    Hours

    Weekly Hours Worked

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryMedical Laboratory ScientistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-time71.668.4
    Part-time28.431.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.540

    Main Industries

    Top Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance55.7
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services24
    Education and Training16.5
    Public Administration and Safety2.2
    Other Industries1.6

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateMedical Laboratory ScientistsAll Jobs Average
    NSW40.431.8
    VIC28.925.5
    QLD10.419.8
    SA6.46.8
    WA10.811.2
    TAS1.22
    NT0.41.1
    ACT1.51.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketMedical Laboratory ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190-5.45.4
    20-242.5-9.99.9
    25-3435.4-23.423.4
    35-4427.8-21.721.7
    45-5413-21.121.1
    55-5911.4-8.78.7
    60-647-5.95.9
    65 and Over3-3.83.8

    Gender

    Male Share

    Female Share

    Gender (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryMedical Laboratory ScientistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males32.8Males53.6
    Females67.2Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

    Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationMedical Laboratory ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate38.5-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree54.5-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma7-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV0-18.918.9
    Year 120-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
    Below Year 100-8.18.1

    A Bachelor Degree or higher is required and nearly all workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed.

    If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
    The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

    It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

    Employers look for Medical Laboratory Scientists who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.

    Knowledge

    The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Biology

      90% Important

      Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

    2. English Language

      83% Important

      English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    3. Medicine and Dentistry

      83% Important

      Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

    4. Administration and Management

      73% Important

      Planning and coordination of people and resources.

    5. Chemistry

      73% Important

      Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change. Danger signs and disposal methods.

    Occupational Information Network Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists Opens in a new window
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    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Activities

    The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Getting Information

      96% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

    2. Analyzing Data or Information

      93% Important

      Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

    3. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

      90% Important

      Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

    4. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

      89% Important

      Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

    5. Documenting/Recording Information

      87% Important

      Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

    Occupational Information Network Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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