Qualification details

MSL40109 - Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques (Release 4)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
4 (this release)Current 11/Mar/2013
(View details for release 3) Replaced17/Dec/2012
(View details for release 2) Replaced10/Dec/2012
(View details for release 1) Replaced14/Jan/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to MSL40116 - Certificate IV in Laboratory TechniquesSupersedes and is equivalent to MSL40109 Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques 29/Feb/2016
Supersedes PML40104 - Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques 13/Jan/2011

Training packages that include this qualification

Units of competency

CodeSort Table listing Units of Competency by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Units of Competency by the Title columnEssential
HLTPAT317C - Operate effectively within a pathology testing environmentOperate effectively within a pathology testing environment N/A
HLTPAT419C - Perform Pathology TestsPerform Pathology Tests N/A
MSAENV272B - Participate in environmentally sustainable work practicesParticipate in environmentally sustainable work practices N/A
MSAENV472B - Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practicesImplement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices N/A
MSL904001A - Perform standard calibrationsPerform standard calibrations N/A
MSL905001A - Perform non-standard calibrationsPerform non-standard calibrations N/A
MSL905002A - Create or modify calibration proceduresCreate or modify calibration procedures N/A
MSL905003A - Create or modify automated calibration proceduresCreate or modify automated calibration procedures N/A
MSL913001A - Communicate with other peopleCommunicate with other people N/A
MSL913002A - Plan and conduct laboratory/field workPlan and conduct laboratory/field work N/A
Items per page 10 | 20 | 50 | 100
Displaying items 1 - 10 of 93


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 511 Certificate IV 
Taxonomy - Industry Sector N/A Laboratory Operations 
Taxonomy - Occupation N/A Laboratory Technician,Pathology Testing Instrument Operator,Mineral Assay Technician,Manufacturing Testing Technician,Biological Technical Assistant,Construction Materials Testing Technical Assistant,Environmental Technical Assistant,Food 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 511 Certificate IV 14/Jan/2011 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History

Release 4 - ISC upgrade

  • Publishing errors corrected
  • Prerequisites not marked with an asterisk
  • Imported unit updated to latest version

Release 3 - ISC upgrade

  • Correction of wrong MSAENV unit listed in core and elective units in release 2
  • Prerequisite listed for HLTPAT419A removed unit has no prerequisite
  • HLTPAT units updated to current versions - equivalent

Release 2 - inclusion of new electives for forensic testing


This qualification covers the skills and knowledge required to perform a range of laboratory techniques to conduct tests and sampling in a variety of industry sectors.

Job roles/employment outcomes 

The Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques offers technical training in laboratory techniques across a range of industries. Employment outcomes targeted by this qualification include technical assistants, technicians, instrument operators and similar personnel.

Technical assistants undertake a wide range of sampling and testing that requires the application of a broad range of technical skills and some scientific knowledge. Although technical assistants generally work in a laboratory, they often work closely with other personnel throughout the workplace and with suppliers. They may assist other personnel to solve technical problems and to adjust formulations and production mixes. They may also train them to collect samples and conduct basic tests reliably.

The work of technical assistants involves similar tasks within one scientific discipline with occasional peak periods and some interruptions. They:

  • work according to established procedures in a structured environment
  • collect and prepare samples
  • conduct a wide range of basic tests and a limited range of specialised tests and measurements using manual, semi-automated and fully automated techniques
  • define and solve problems of limited complexity where the information available is less obvious, but not contradictory, and can be determined by direct reasoning
  • work under the direction and regular supervision of senior technical staff, laboratory or quality managers, or scientific/medical personnel. The work of technical assistants is normally subject to frequent progress and quality checks
  • generally work in a team and may have responsibility for their own work outputs.

An example of the work of technical assistants is given below.

  • A technical assistant who works in a mineral preparation plant receives and logs incoming ore samples and operates handling equipment to move samples to treatment points. In the laboratory, the assistant conducts routine chemical and physical tests and redirects other sub-samples for specialised analyses.


This qualification is typically used to prepare new employees or develop the skills of existing workers performing a technical assistant role in a variety of industry sectors.

This qualification recognises that some industry sectors employ technicians who have broad technical-scientific knowledge and skills, but without substantial depth in one specialisation as provided by the Diploma of Laboratory Technology. This qualification also addresses the concerns of industry representatives who stated that a gap between the Certificate III and Diploma in the Qualifications Framework could represent a barrier to career progression in some 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 Information

Pathways into the qualification  

This qualification may be accessed by direct entry. Credit may be granted towards this qualification by those who have completed the MSL30109 Certificate III in Laboratory Skills. Credit for this qualification may include units contained within relevant skill sets.

Pathways from the qualification  

Further training pathways from this qualification include MSL50109 Diploma of Laboratory Technology.

Additional qualification advice 

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

  • Certificate IV in Laboratory Technology

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

  • Certificate IV in Laboratory Technology

 (specialising in xxxxxxx)

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

  • biological testing
  • chemical testing
  • construction materials testing
  • environmental monitoring
  • food testing
  • manufacturing testing
  • mineral assay
  • scientific glassblowing
  • wine testing.

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 of competency 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) and brief written reports
  • Communicate with team members, supervisors and customers
  • Interpret standard operating procedures (SOPs) and material safety data sheets (MSDS)


  • 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
  • Recognise and report non-conformances or problems to appropriate personnel

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, quality 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 and ensure quality and integrity of own work
  • Review own strengths, weaknesses and work practices for opportunities to continuously improve performance
  • Maintain security and confidentiality of all client/enterprise data and information
  • Use appropriate personal 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
  • Coach others in participating in occupational health and safety (OHS) and environmental management issues


  • Use communication, emergency, data recording and equipment, including items such as instruments that emit ionising radiation, calibration standards, laboratory information management systems and earth moving equipment.
  • Select and use computers and software to collect and report information

Packaging Rules

To be awarded a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques competency must be achieved in a total of seventeen (17)  units of competency, consisting of:

  • six (6)  core units of competency
  • eleven (11)  elective units of competency.

Units listed under core  are considered essential for all technical assistants. The units 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 considered in the total number of units. Please refer to individual units for details.

Core units of competency 

  • Select all six (6)  units of competency listed below.

Unit code 

Unit title 


Communicate with other people


Plan and conduct laboratory/field work


Process and interpret data


Apply quality system and continuous improvement processes


Participate in laboratory/field workplace safety


Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

Elective units of competency  

Select eleven (11)  elective units from Groups A, B and C as specified below:

  • a minimum of five (5)  units must be selected from Group A
  • the remainder may be chosen from Groups A, B and C, with a maximum of four (4)  from Group B and a maximum of three (3)  from Group C, to bring the total number of electives to eleven (11) .

Note that three (3)  of the elective units may be chosen from this Training Package, other endorsed Training Packages and accredited courses, where those units are available at Certificate IV.

Group A 

Unit code 

Unit title 



Perform standard calibrations


Prepare practical science classes and demonstrations


Use laboratory application software


Contribute to the ongoing development of HACCP plans


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

  • Group B 

Unit code 

Unit title 



Maintain the laboratory/field workplace fit for purpose


Contribute to the achievement of quality objectives


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 investigations


Provide work skill instruction


Operate effectively within a pathology testing environment

Group C 

Unit code 

Unit title 



Perform non-standard calibrations



Create or modify calibration procedures



Create or modify automated calibration procedures



Provide information to customers


Schedule laboratory work for a small team


Analyse data and report results



Analyse measurements and estimate uncertainties



Monitor the quality of test results and data



Assist in the maintenance of reference materials


Authorise the issue of test results



Maintain instruments and equipment


Supervise a robotic sample preparation system



Design and manufacture glass apparatus and glass systems



Perform glass coating, grinding and finishing operations



Construct, modify and maintain high vacuum systems



Perform microbiological tests



Perform haematological tests



Perform histological tests



Perform chemical pathology tests



Conduct sensory analysis


Perform immunohaematological tests



Supervise sampling, inspections and testing at construction sites



Apply electrophoretic techniques



Apply routine chromatographic techniques



Perform fire assay techniques



Design and supervise complex environmental field surveys



Provide input to production trials



Perform tissue and cell culture techniques



Perform molecular biology tests and procedures



Prepare animal and plant material for display



Perform complex tests to measure engineering properties of materials



Perform laboratory-based ecological techniques



Perform complex tests to measure chemical properties of materials



Apply complex instrumental techniques



Apply routine spectrometric techniques



Apply routine electrometric techniques



Perform food analyses



Supervise geotechnical site investigations



Locate record and collect forensic samples


Perform complex laboratory testing of forensic samples


Perform physical examination of forensic samples

Training component details
The following details are displayed for each different NRT:-

Training packages

- Training package details
- Training package components


- Qualification details
- Qualification components

Accredited courses

- Accredited course details


- Module details

Units of competency

- Units of competency details
- Unit components

Skill sets

- Skill set details
- Skill set components

Click on the Export link to export the NRT information to MS Word or PDF.

Click on the Manage notification link to create or change a notification for this NRT.

When selecting the Display history check box a set of tables will appear displaying a log of historical values describing what has changed and when over time.

If you have access to make changes to an NRT, click on the Edit link on the upper right hand side of the summary box.