Qualification details

MSL30109 - Certificate III in Laboratory Skills (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to MSL30116 - Certificate III in Laboratory SkillsSupersedes and is equivalent to MSL30109 Certificate III in Laboratory Skills 29/Feb/2016
Supersedes PML30104 - Certificate III in Laboratory Skills 13/Jan/2011

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 11/Mar/2013
(View details for release 2) 17/Dec/2012
(View details for release 1) 14/Jan/2011

Units of competency

CodeSort Table listing Units of Competency by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Units of Competency by the Title columnEssentialSort Table listing Units of Competency by the Essential column
MSL933001A - Maintain the laboratory/field workplace fit for purposeMaintain the laboratory/field workplace fit for purposeN/A
MSL974009A - Undertake field-based, remote-sensing monitoringUndertake field-based, remote-sensing monitoringN/A
HLTPAT317C - Operate effectively within a pathology testing environmentOperate effectively within a pathology testing environmentN/A
MSL933004A - Perform calibration checks on equipment and assist with its maintenancePerform calibration checks on equipment and assist with its maintenanceN/A
MSL974013A - Monitor performance of structuresMonitor performance of structuresN/A
MSL973002A - Prepare working solutionsPrepare working solutionsN/A
MSL974004A - Perform food testsPerform food testsN/A
MSL912001A - Work within a laboratory/field workplace (induction)Work within a laboratory/field workplace (induction)N/A
MSL974007A - Undertake environmental field-based monitoringUndertake environmental field-based monitoringN/A
MSL974003A - Perform chemical tests and proceduresPerform chemical tests and proceduresN/A
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ANZSCO Identifier 311000 Agricultural, Medical And Science Technicians 
ASCO (occupation type) Identifier 3112 Science Technical Officers 
ASCED Qualification/Course Field of Education Identifier 0199 Other Natural And Physical Sciences 
Qualification/Course Level of Education Identifier 514 Certificate III 
Taxonomy - Industry Sector N/A Laboratory Operations,Manufacturing Technology 
Taxonomy - Occupation N/A Polymer Testing Laboratory Assistant,Environmental Testing Technical Assistant,Field Assistant (Sample Testing),Water Quality Laboratory Assistant,Food Testing Laboratory Assistant,Laboratory Assistant,Dairy Factory Laboratory Assistant,Biological Testing Technical Assistant,School Laboratory Technician,Mineral Assay Laboratory Assistant,Biomedical Laboratory Assistant,Construction Materials Testing Technical Assistant 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ANZSCO Identifier 311000 Agricultural, Medical And Science Technicians 02/Aug/2010 
ASCO (occupation type) Identifier 3112 Science Technical Officers 02/Aug/2010 
ASCED Qualification/Course Field of Education Identifier 0199 Other Natural And Physical Sciences 02/Aug/2010 
Qualification/Course Level of Education Identifier 514 Certificate III 14/Jan/2011 
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Modification History

Release 3 - ISC upgrade

  • Minor formatting changes
  • Prerequisites now marked with an asterisk
  • Imported unit updated to current version - equivalent

Release 2 - ISC upgrade

  • Prerequisite listed for HLTPAT419A removed – unit has no prerequisite
  • HLTPAT units updated to current versions - equivalent


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.

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.

Pathways Information

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).

Licensing/Regulatory Information

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.

Entry Requirements

Not applicable.

Employability Skills Summary


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

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 : Units marked with an asterisk have one or more prerequisite requirements and must be included in the total number of units chosen. Please refer to individual units for details.

Core units of competency 

Select all six  (6 ) units of competency from this list.

Unit code 

Unit title 



Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices


Communicate with other people


Plan and conduct laboratory/field work


Record and present data


Contribute to the achievement of quality objectives


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 



Maintain the laboratory/field workplace fit for purpose


Apply critical control point requirements


Perform calibration checks on equipment and assist with its maintenance


Work safely with instruments that emit ionising radiation


Receive and prepare samples for testing


Operate a robotic sample preparation system


Operate basic handblowing equipment


Repair glass apparatus using simple glassblowing equipment



Perform basic tests


Prepare working solutions


Prepare culture media


Perform aseptic techniques


Assist with fieldwork


Prepare trial batches for evaluation


Perform microscopic examination


Perform histological procedures


Conduct field-based acceptance tests for construction materials


Conduct laboratory-based acceptance tests for construction materials


Perform fire pouring techniques


Assist with geotechnical site investigations


Operate effectively within a pathology testing environment


Provide work skill instruction

Group B 

Unit code 

Unit title 



Work within a laboratory/field workplace (induction)


Collect routine site samples


Handle and transport samples or equipment


Conduct routine site measurements


Perform standard calibrations


Prepare practical science classes and demonstrations


Process and interpret data


Use laboratory application software


Contribute to the ongoing development of HACCP plans


Apply quality system and continuous improvement processes


Maintain and control stocks


Maintain laboratory/field workplace safety


Obtain representative samples in accordance with sampling plan


Prepare mineral samples for analysis


Prepare, standardise and use solutions


Conduct geotechnical site investigations



Perform chemical tests and procedures


Perform food tests


Perform physical tests


Perform biological procedures



Undertake environmental field-based monitoring


Capture and manage scientific images


Undertake field-based, remote-sensing monitoring


Perform mechanical tests


Prepare tissue and cell cultures



Perform tests to determine the properties of construction materials



Monitor performance of structures



Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices


Perform pathology tests