Frequently asked questions
Is it compulsory to be certified?
No, the scheme is voluntary and operates in a similar manner to other self managed certification schemes established by other health professionals like dietitians and social workers.
Will it be compulsory in the future as with NZ/UK etc
The medical laboratory professionals chose to set up the self regulated scheme because the Australian Government decided not to include Medical Scientists and Technical Officers in the professions covered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) when it was established in 2010. Most developed countries do have formal regulation of Medical Scientists and Technical Officers to protect the public and set minimum standards for ongoing assessment of competency and continuing professional development. It would require the Australian Government to legislate mandatory registration and if they were to do so it would almost certainly be under AHPRA.
Do I need to be a member of a Professional body to apply for certification?
Under the revised operation of the scheme from April 2023, the professional bodies will be issuing certification to their members who meet the criteria (at minimal cost to the member). Therefore you will either need to be a member or join AIMS APACE as a non-member.
Why does my supervisor need to certify my competency?
Assessment of competency is a requirement under ISO 15189 and a key requirement for certification. We have developed online competency assessment tools which employers may use to assess competency. Regardless of the method of assessment, we require your supervisor to confirm they have assessed your competency and you demonstrate safe and ethical practice.
I am already a member of a professional body, do I need to apply for certification as well?
The new operation of the scheme is designed to simplify the process of certification for those meeting the CPD requirements of the various professional bodies. However, the requirement for regular competency assessment remains and details of the operation of the scheme for their members will be provided by the associations.
What CPD recording schemes are accepted?
Can scientists that are not working directly on the bench day to day e.g. an industry technical support specialist or a quality officer, apply for certification?
Yes they can provided they meet all the current criteria. The competency sign off by their supervisor states that they are competent “against their current role and position description within the last 12 months and that they demonstrate safe and ethical practice” so this will cover those in associated industries and roles.
Can clinical or senior scientists apply for certification?
They definitely can. The category for Clinical Scientist includes additional qualifications with details of the requirements on the home page.
What if I am a new graduate and don't have 2 years experience?
Scientists and Technical Officers who are currently employed and have met the qualification requirements but do not yet have the minimum 2 years relevant recent experience and CPD record may apply for conditional certification.
They must provide a declaration from their supervisor that they are employed in a relevant role but with less than 2 years experience and that they are undertaking ongoing training and competency assessment. Applicants for conditional certification also need to commit to participate in CPD activities and recording.
Conditional certification will run for a maximum of two years, after which they will be required to undergo competency assessment and meet CPD requirements for transition to full certification.
What are the benefits of being a certified scientist or technical officer?
Your status as a certified medical laboratory professional is a public guarantee that you are qualified, competent and continuing your professional development. It is a formal recognition of scientific qualifications, your certification is aligned with competency development and assessment processes and acknowledges your participation in continuing educational activities. We also believe the scheme demonstrates increased professional credibility and prestige in the industry.
We hope employers may look to certification as a desirable attribute during the recruitment process and when we have online competency assessment tools developed you will be able to demonstrate to your employer your continued competence in a standardised way, reducing their administrative burden.
Can I apply to be a certified medical scientist to be classified as a medical laboratory scientist for visa/immigration purposes?
No. Your qualifications and work experience need to be assessed to determine your ANZSCO classification under the skilled migration program. The Australian Institute of Clinical and Medical Scientists (AIMS) is the assessing authority (on behalf of the Australian government) for the following occupations: Medical Laboratory Scientist ANZSCO 234611 Specialisation IVF Embryologist; Medical Laboratory Technician ANZSCO 311213; Pathology Collector ANZSCO 311216.
Details of qualifications and skills assessment for migration can be found at: https://www.aims.org.au/services/qualification-assessment