Certificate III in Laboratory Skills

This qualification covers the skills and knowledge required to perform a limited range of laboratory operations across all industry sectors.

Job roles/employment outcomes

The Certificate III in Laboratory Skills offers entry level technical training in laboratory skills across a range of industries. Employment outcomes targeted by this qualification include laboratory technicians, instrument operators and similar personnel.

Laboratory technicians perform straightforward laboratory work. They follow set procedures and recipes, and apply well developed technical skills and basic scientific knowledge. They generally work inside a laboratory but may also perform technical tasks in the field or within production plants. They may also perform a range of laboratory maintenance and office tasks.

The majority of their work involves a predictable flow of parallel or similar tasks within one scientific discipline. They:

perform straightforward technical tasks to prepare and test samples using relevant procedures, Australian standards and readily available advice. These tasks generally require close attention to detail and to the accuracy and precision of measurements. They may require the use of manual or semi-automated techniques

operate test equipment and instruments and make limited adjustments to their controls

process and record data and recognise trends and out of control conditions

solve predictable problems using clear information or known solutions. Where alternatives exist, they are limited and apparent

work under close and regular supervision, although they may have autonomy for specific tasks and responsibility for their own outputs

take decisions within defined limits of responsibility

work as part of a team.

Examples of the work of laboratory technician are given below.

A laboratory technician working at a dairy factory may gather samples from the milk tankers, vats and the processing line, and perform routine chemical and bacteriological tests on the samples.

A laboratory technician in a pathology laboratory may receive and prepares tissue samples.

A school laboratory technician may set up for classes, prepare chemicals and instruments for students to undertake practical work.

This qualification is typically used to prepare new employees or develop the skills of existing workers performing a laboratory technician or instrument operator role across all industry sectors.

MSL30109 Certificate III in Laboratory Skills is designed to maximise the portability of this qualification, which is the entry level required for laboratory personnel across all industry sectors.

Training programs for this qualification are suitable to be undertaken as part of a formal training contract with an employer under an Australian Traineeship or Apprenticeship arrangement.

Pathways into the qualification

This qualification may be accessed by direct entry. Credit for this qualification may include units contained within relevant skill sets.

Pathways from the qualification

Further training pathways from this qualification include MSL40109 Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques or MSA40108 Certificate IV in Manufacturing Technology (Laboratory Operations Stream).

Additional qualification advice

Because specialisation is a requirement in some industry sectors for the Certificate III in Laboratory Skills, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) may choose to issue a generic:

Certificate III in Laboratory Skills

or, where elective units of competency are packaged to suit a particular industry sector or specialisation, RTOs might issue a:

Certificate III in Laboratory Skills

(specialising in xxxxxxx)

Industry sector/specialisations could include, but are not limited to:

construction materials testing

environmental monitoring

food testing

pathology testing

mineral assay

scientific glassblowing

wine testing.

It should be noted that a qualification with a specialisation does not change the title of the qualification, although RTOs may choose to record the specialisation. The AQTF requirements must be complied with and the qualification or Statement of Attainment should clearly specify the units of competency achieved and where appropriate, the specialisation.

Licensing considerations

There are no specific licences that relate to this qualification. However depending on the jurisdiction, licensing or regulatory requirements may apply to the use of some units in this qualification. Local regulations should be checked for details.


Packaging Rules

To be awarded a Certificate III in Laboratory Skills, competency must be achieved in a total of thirteen (13) units of competency, consisting of:

six (6) core units

seven (7) elective units from Groups A and B, chosen as specified below.

Units listed under core are considered essential for all laboratory assistants. The units of competency listed as electives may only apply to some personnel according to the size and scope of the particular enterprise and laboratory.

Note: Prerequisite units are listed and must be included in the total number of units chosen.

Core units of competency

Select allsix (6) units of competency from this list.

Unit code

Unit title


add topic MSAENV272B

Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

add topic MSL913001A

Communicate with other people

add topic MSL913002A

Plan and conduct laboratory/field work

add topic MSL922001A

Record and present data

add topic MSL933002A

Contribute to the achievement of quality objectives

add topic MSL943002A

Participate in laboratory/field workplace safety

Elective units of competency

Select seven (7) elective units from Groups A and B, as specified below:

a minimum of four (4) units must be chosen from Group A.

the remainder may be chosen from Groups A and B, to bring the total number of electives to seven (7).

Note that two (2) of the electives units may be chosen from this Training Package, other endorsed Training Packages and accredited courses, where those units are available at Certificate III.

Group A

Unit code

Unit title


add topic MSL933001A

Maintain the laboratory/field workplace fit for purpose

add topic MSL933003A

Apply critical control point requirements

add topic MSL933004A

Perform calibration checks on equipment and assist with its maintenance

add topic MSL943001A

Work safely with instruments that emit ionising radiation

add topic MSL953001A

Receive and prepare samples for testing

add topic MSL953002A

Operate a robotic sample preparation system

add topic MSL963001A

Operate basic handblowing equipment

add topic MSL963002A

Repair glass apparatus using simple glassblowing equipment

add topic MSL963001A

add topic MSL973001A

Perform basic tests

add topic MSL973002A

Prepare working solutions

add topic MSL973003A

Prepare culture media

add topic MSL973004A

Perform aseptic techniques

add topic MSL973005A

Assist with fieldwork

add topic MSL973006A

Prepare trial batches for evaluation

add topic MSL973007A

Perform microscopic examination

add topic MSL973008A

Perform histological procedures

add topic MSL973009A

Conduct field-based acceptance tests for construction materials

add topic MSL973010A

Conduct laboratory-based acceptance tests for construction materials

add topic MSL973011A

Perform fire pouring techniques

add topic MSL973012A

Assist with geotechnical site investigations

add topic HLTPAT317A

Operate effectively within a pathology testing environment

add topic TAADEL301C

Provide training through instruction and demonstration of work skills

Group B

Unit code

Unit title


add topic MSL912001A

Work within a laboratory/field workplace (induction)

add topic MSL952001A

Collect routine site samples

add topic MSL952002A

Handle and transport samples or equipment

add topic MSL972001A

Conduct routine site measurements

add topic MSL904001A

Perform standard calibrations

add topic MSL914001A

Prepare practical science classes and demonstrations

add topic MSL924001A

Process and interpret data

add topic MSL924002A

Use laboratory application software

add topic MSL934001A

Contribute to the ongoing development of HACCP plans

add topic MSL934002A

Apply quality system and continuous improvement processes

add topic MSL934003A

Maintain and control stocks

add topic MSL944001A

Maintain laboratory/field workplace safety

add topic MSL954001A

Obtain representative samples in accordance with sampling plan

add topic MSL954002A

Prepare mineral samples for analysis

add topic MSL974001A

Prepare, standardise and use solutions

add topic MSL974002A

Conduct geotechnical site investigations

add topic MSL973012A

add topic MSL974003A

Perform chemical tests and procedures

add topic MSL974004A

Perform food tests

add topic MSL974005A

Perform physical tests

add topic MSL974006A

Perform biological procedures

add topic MSL973004A , add topic MSL973007A

add topic MSL974007A

Undertake environmental field-based monitoring

add topic MSL974008A

Capture and manage scientific images

add topic MSL974009A

Undertake field-based, remote-sensing monitoring

add topic MSL974010A

Perform mechanical tests

add topic MSL974011A

Prepare tissue and cell cultures

add topic MSL973004A

add topic MSL974012A

Perform tests to determine the properties of construction materials

add topic MSL973001A


add topic MSL973010A

add topic MSL974013A

Monitor performance of structures

add topic MSL973009A

add topic MSAENV472B

Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices

add topic HLTPAT419A

Perform pathology tests

add topic HLTPAT317A


    Not applicable.

Entry Requirements

Not applicable.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.

Employability Skills


Employability Skill

Industry/enterprise requirements for this qualification include:


Receive and pass on written and oral messages, provide relevant information in response to requests and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills including conflict resolution techniques

Record and store data, perform basic calculations of scientific quantities and present information in tables and graphs

Report using verbal responses, data entry into laboratory information management system (LIMS) or enterprise databases and brief written reports using enterprise proformas

Communicate with team members, supervisors and customers


Work effectively with team members who may have diverse work styles, cultures and perspectives when reporting problems, hazards and incidents and results or contributing to productivity improvements

Promote cooperation and good relations in the team

Problem solving

Deal with inquiries in accordance with enterprise customer service requirements

Rectify errors in data using enterprise procedures

Resolve simple customer requirements, such as mismatched request forms and specimens

Initiative and enterprise

Access and provide relevant information that meets own authorisation and confidentiality requirements

Recognise potential incidents and take appropriate corrective action

Identify and report opportunities for improvements in procedures, processes and equipment

Identify hazards associated with samples, preparation methods, reagents and equipment and implement enterprise control measures

Planning and organising

Plan and organise daily work activities to ensure the timely completion of tasks

Modify work plans to suit changing conditions and priorities

Assemble and organise specified laboratory equipment and materials


Follow enterprise procedures which reflect equal opportunity, anti-discrimination and non-harassment legislative requirements

Maintain enterprise standards of personal hygiene

Conduct work based on ethical values and principles

Review own strengths, weaknesses and work practices for opportunities to continuously improve performance

Maintain confidentiality of all client/enterprise data and information

Use appropriate protective equipment to ensure personal safety when sampling, processing, transferring or disposing of samples


Clarify instructions with supervisors to ensure a complete understanding of the task

Update knowledge and skills and take advantage of skill development opportunities


Use communication, emergency, data recording and laboratory equipment. Laboratory equipment includes items such as microscopes, weigh balances, LIMS and centrifuges

Use computers and software to collect and report information