Medical Laboratory Science - Placements

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Medical Laboratory Science - Placements


The medical laboratory placement courses are mandatory and offered in both years of the Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science.

This program prepares students to pursue career opportunities in hospital and private pathology laboratories as qualified medical laboratory technicians.

On graduation, the opportunity exists to complete the Bachelor of Biomedical Science with one further year of full-time study.

The Medical Laboratory Placement courses provide an opportunity for students to obtain academic credit for a course at University at the same time as gaining valuable experience in the workplace prior to completing their studies and seeking employment in their chosen field.

In today’s workplace, employers seek graduates who have relevant qualifications as well as skills and competencies related to the pathology industry. This includes experience in pathology based work integrated learning that meets the professional objectives of the employer's organisation.

Undertaking a clinical placement as part of the Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science provides students with graduate attributes which meet pathology industry expectations. USC program staff meet annually with employers to ensure that course content, including work integrated learning, remains current and relevant to the industry. A student representative attends meetings of the industry advisory group.

A Medical Laboratory Placement course provides the opportunity to put theory into practice, develop a range of essential skills sought by employers, establish a work history and create networking contacts.

Placement details


During the academic program, students develop technical skills in general pathology, pathophysiology, haematology, histology, biochemistry, clinical chemistry, blood banking and medical microbiology. They cement their course experience during industry placements supervised by experienced medical scientists to develop practical skills in laboratory medicine.

The placement courses can cover the following clinical areas:

  • Pre Analytical – Specimen Reception
  • Haematology
  • Histology
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunohaematology (Blood Banking)

Placements are in Pathology Queensland laboratories within public hospitals or Private Pathology laboratories located throughout metropolitan, regional and rural areas of Queensland.

Timely completion of the Associate Degree Medical Laboratory Science program is dependent on students’ ability to complete placement. If students decline placement opportunities based, for example, on geographical restrictions, they may delay their program completion until both placements are completed and associated assessments are passed. The majority of placement opportunities are located away from the Sunshine Coast. Students are responsible for travel and accommodation costs, and making arrangements for work, family and other commitments while on placement.

Location and structure

Students in the Associate Degree of Medical Laboratory Science program must complete two placement courses.

Placement courses and duration are:

  • MLS131 Medical Laboratory Placement 1days full time (12-units)
  • MLS231 Medical Laboratory Placement 2days full time (12-units)

A limited number of placement opportunities are available on the Sunshine Coast. As many job opportunities are located beyond the Sunshine Coast, students are encouraged to consider other locations where they have the possibility of staying with relatives or friends, or to spend time in a community or area that interests them while undertaking placement.

The rural and regional laboratories often provide students with a more ‘hands on’ laboratory experience in multiple clinical areas, whereas a placement in a metropolitan laboratory may only provide one to two clinical areas, but in greater depth.

We recommend that students obtain experience in different laboratory environments across their placement opportunities to further expand their knowledge and skill set of the pathology industry.

In the case of locations away from the student's usual place of residence, students will be responsible for arranging and covering the cost of travel and accommodation. The time and cost commitments should be considered by the student well ahead of the placement.

The two placement courses each comprise 20 days (usually 4 consecutive weeks) of full time placement consisting of 8 hour days, and are usually outside of the Semester timetables. Any days lost due to public holidays, illness or other absence must be made up to ensure 20 full days are completed in the workplace.

The placement experience involves contact with bodily fluids and tissue samples, including blood. For that reason it is a mandatory requirement for all placement students to be vaccinated against a range of vaccine preventable diseases, including Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Varicella (Chickenpox) and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - see Mandatory Requirements link below. Students will be responsible for arranging and covering the cost of these requirements.

All pathology placements are organised for the student by the University Clinical Placement Course Coordinator, and require up to 6 months lead in time for this preparation.

Placement essentials (Mandatory checks)

Before you begin your industry placement you will need to complete a range of Mandatory checks * (see link). Evidence of completion must be uploaded to the student's Sonia Online ** account.

NOTE: some of the mandatory checks can take quite some time to organise and students are advised to commence working on obtaining their specific mandatories in a timely manner. Some must be undertaken well in advance of offers being made, while others can be attended to once a placement has been confirmed. For example, it will take seven months to complete a vaccination course for Hepatitis B.

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.

** Access to Sonia Online for current enrolled students only

Remuneration and insurance

No remuneration or payment is made by the Pathology Organisation to the students or to the University for hosting the student. Students need to consider the impact of the placement on any other work or family arrangements when planning their placement.

Students undertaking an approved medical laboratory placement are covered by the University’s insurance policies.


Students are assessed by completion of a Clinical Placement Guide (Competency Manual) which covers the 6 pathology disciplines. The Competency Manual contains activities for completion during placement and requires a Pathology Supervisor to assess competency in the pathology activity and sign a statement that satisfactory skills have been obtained in the activity.

Students are also required to submit a progress report following the first week of placement, and must complete a daily laboratory notebook to fulfil their assessment requirement.

Workplace supervisors are asked to provide formal feedback on each student's placement, and this forms part of the summative assessment.

In order to pass the courses, a student must complete 20 full days for each placement, complete the assessment listed above, and adhere to all aspects of the “Code of Conduct for Medical Laboratory Science students on work placement”. This Code of Conduct will be included in the placement agreement signed by each student, and copies will be provided prior to attending placement.


For more information about the Medical Laboratory Placement courses please contact:

Geoff Simon
Lecturer and Placement Coordinator - Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

For general enquiries about School of Health and Sport Sciences work integrated learning opportunities please contact:

Clinical Placements Administrative Assistant
Tel: +61 7 5456 5823

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