Best Pathology Courses In Australia 2024

Last updated: November 23, 2022

Want to make a career change into a pathology-related field? But you may not have relevant experience. Or perhaps, you’re stuck in a totally unrelated job. Don’t worry! We have a list of some of the best pathology courses available in Australia with minimal entry requirements.

You dream of working with human tissues specimens in the lab. Perhaps, the topic of human anatomy sparks so much of your interest. And you still reminisce of the times you played with that toy microscope when you were five.

But somehow, you’re now working a 9-5 at an office desk doing accounting.

It’s never too late to make a change, though!

We have a list of pathology courses in Australia with absolutely minimal entry requirements to help people like you pursue their dreams of working in a lab.

Important note: Becoming an actual pathologist in Australia requires you to become a medical doctor. You have to complete a pre-medical bachelor’s, get into medical school, complete your residency, and specialise in pathology. We’re talking about over a decade of preparation and study!

However, you don’t have to become a pathologist to work with human tissues, blood samples, and microscopes.

The courses on our list will prepare and empower you to pursue other job opportunities (which we’ll cover further down the article) in a pathology-related field—without having to do medical school.

Pathology in Australia

Pathology involves the laboratory examination of human body tissues for forensic and diagnostic reasons. 

Pathology in itself branches out into many different specialities. This involves areas such as dermatopathology (skin), microbiology, forensic pathology (sudden death), haematology (blood), and neuropathology (nervous system).

Over 500 million pathology tests are conducted in Australia each year. And these help with 70% of medical diagnoses made, including cancer cases [1].

And these tests don’t run themselves. Various professionals and trained staff are involved in the different stages of pathology testing, which include:-

  • Collection of samples
  • Transportation
  • Preparation for testing
  • Examination of samples
  • Results reporting and liaising with healthcare providers

As you can see, being a pathologist isn’t the only way you can be involved in diagnostic lab work.

Types of pathology courses in Australia

Medical school can be expensive, difficult to get into, time-consuming, and tedious. And you’ll need a medical degree (a postgraduate degree) to become a pathologist.

There is no shortcut to becoming a pathologist. But there are other alternatives to landing your dream job and getting your hands dirty in the lab.

Here are other pathways that can take you into a pathology-related career (without having to become a doctor)!


A Certificate III or IV is a great entry point if you don’t have relevant experience or education.

These courses will prepare you to become a laboratory technician or assistant. They can also build your foundation before you further your studies to do a diploma or bachelor’s degree.

What you learn will depend on which course you take. Some courses focus more on specimen collection. Meanwhile, others zoom in on equipment handling and laboratory procedures and safety.


A diploma is a step up from a Certificate IV.

The Diploma of Laboratory Technology will give you a greater understanding of laboratory work than a Certificate IV. In fact, you can work unsupervised as a qualified laboratory technician in a pathology lab with this diploma.

However, you’ll need to complete a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques or a Certificate IV in a relevant course before studying for the Diploma of Laboratory Technology. It is one of the common entry requirements. But you can check your eligibility with course representatives if you’re unsure.


A bachelor’s is another tier up from a diploma. A Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours) is one popular route into the pathology sector. This bachelor’s degree will give you a solid and deep understanding of diagnostic laboratory medicine.

This higher-level qualification enables you to command a higher salary, opens up a wider range of career options, and paves the way for more advanced study (such as a Master’s degree).

We’ll dive deeper into this bachelor’s degree in a little bit!

What makes a great pathology course?

You want to get your money’s worth. And we’d like to help you do that. 

It’s best to know what to look out for before hitting “Enrol Now.” Here are some factors that can make or break a pathology course.

  • Practical experience: Let’s admit it. It’s hard to learn how to use a microscope without actually having the chance to practice using a microscope. Practical experience is crucial. So you may check with your provider if work placements and practical lab work form a core part of the course.
  • Course content: It’s best to look through the course content and units covered on the website. This helps you gauge if the materials and content align with your interest. Also, the ‘career outcomes’ section should help you gauge if the course will point you in the right direction of your dream career.
  • Entry requirements: We’ve included courses with minimal requirements in this list. However, if you wish to find one yourself, check the requirements, especially if you don’t have any experience or qualifications in a related field. Some providers offer a free enrolment check. You’ll submit your background and details to check if you qualify before paying any application fees. 
  • Flexibility: Most courses on our list offer a blended learning experience. This combines both online and face-to-face learning, which is great if you have other commitments or enjoy learning on your own schedule. Some of these courses are also offered part-time or full-time.

What are the best pathology courses to land a job?

Courses in pathology will require practical lab work and hands-on training. Hence, it’s unlikely that they can be done entirely online or remotely.

However, many courses deliver blended learning⁠—meaning you’ll study the theory online and gain hands-on experience in your campus lab or during placements.

Here’s our list of some of the best pathology courses in Australia!

Why we recommend it:

This Certificate III in Pathology Collection equips you to work in pathology as a specimen collector. You’ll learn how to take blood samples, swab tests, and ECGs for patients who require these tests and how to prepare these samples for testing. Some additional skills you’ll pick up include infection control, first aid, and customer service communications skills.

Through this course, you’ll be able to pursue a career as a pathology assistant or pathology collector.

You’ll undergo simulated work training, self-paced e-learning, and work-based training delivered through a blended experience for one year. The course is offered full-time at Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth campuses.


4 Months

Delivery method



~$4200(Subsidy available)

Why we recommend it:

Some skills and areas you’ll cover throughout this course include infection control policies, workplace communication, and how to receive, prepare, and dispatch samples.

Ultimately, the course helps you build and foster all the skills you need to become a skilled pathology assistant, specimen reception staff member, or biomedical laboratory assistant.

This is one of the shortest courses on our list. So it’s an attractive choice if you’re looking to jumpstart your career as soon as possible.

It’s available both full-time and part-time in different locations all across Australia. You’ll be attending 16 hours of classes twice a week for 16 weeks (full-time). There will also be assigned online materials to read and complete outside of class hours.

There are TAFE campuses located in South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales (NSW)⁠—all of which offer this course.


8 months

Delivery method



~$11,000(Subsidy available)

Why we recommend it:

This nationally accredited Certificate IV facilitates the acquisition of laboratory skills in your chosen area of interest, including biology, tissue culture, and microbiology. You’ll learn a broad range of skills, including the following:-

  • Collecting and preparing samples for testing
  • Performing scientific calculations and interpreting the results
  • Maintaining laboratory equipment and stock
  • Workplace safety
  • Performing a range of sample testing

The job outcomes of this course are very broad. It’s a good choice if you’re on the fence and might not actually want to go into pathology later on (you can also go into food testing, water quality testing, etc.) In terms of pathology careers⁠—this course helps you take up the role of a biological testing technical assistant or a laboratory assistant.

This course runs three days a week for 36 weeks (about 8 months full-time). But you will also need to complete pre-assigned materials and coursework outside of class hours. There is also a part-time study mode option.


4 years full-time 8 years part-time

Delivery method

Online, On Campus



Why we recommend it:

This Bachelor of Science degree is accredited by AIMS. It trains you to pick up all the technical skills needed for best practice in patient testing, monitoring, and education. Essentially, you’ll gain all the technical and theoretical knowledge required to conduct laboratory testing for diagnostic purposes.

You’ll also learn to communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals and perform medical laboratory research. This course empowers you to pursue a career as a qualified medical laboratory scientist.

Learning is delivered via online classes, research projects, case-based studies, professional work placement, and residential school (based in Rockhampton). You can either complete it in 4 years full-time or 8 years part-time.

What are the best pathology courses to upskill?

Say you’re looking for a flexible and convenient way to polish your knowledge on the side. If that’s the case, these are two attractive courses to check out—not to mention that they can be done entirely online!

Introduction to Laboratory Information Management Systems – Udemy

Having a messy system in your lab can make recording and processing data a nightmare. The course will cover the foundation of Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). You’ll learn the following:-

  • The benefits, functions, features, and core components of LIMS
  • How to apply LIMS in billing, contract management, and patient registration.
  • Quality control
  • How to print, generate, and read barcodes

It’s a rather basic course covering the core principles of LIMS. So don’t expect to get into the nitty-gritty details of this subject. This course is a great option for lab professionals and students doing laboratory science.

Become a Microbiology Laboratory Technician (Udemy)

Microbiology lab technicians analyse microorganisms to determine the root cause of a disease. This course will give you the resources and training you need to pursue a career as a microbiology lab technician.

The course covers areas such as:

  • Understanding basic medical terminology
  • Laboratory instruments and lab testing techniques
  • How to land a job as a microbiology lab technician
  • Diagnosis of bacterial and viral diseases

It’s a great course if you’re keen on pursuing a career in microbiology. It serves as a convenient and affordable way to gain some skills and knowledge in this field.

What are the career outcomes of taking a pathology course?

There is a moderate to high demand for a workforce in the pathology field (depending on which job role you’d like), so it is a promising sector to consider getting into.

Say your pathology course is done and dusted, and you’re on the lookout for a suitable job.

What are some of your options? 

Pathologist assistant

Pathologist assistants will do what a pathologist does, except for diagnosing. However, they play crucial roles in the process leading up to the diagnosis of a disease.

If you choose to become a pathologist assistant, you’ll work under the supervision and direction of a pathologist to complete day-to-day tasks, such as:

  • Preparation and dissection of pathology sample
  • Managing tissue samples for analysis
  • Maintaining and sterilising equipment
  • Running pathology tests
  • Keeping a record of results and samples
  • Performing microscopic examinations
  • Photographing samples and tissues

Pathology assistants may work in a wide range of settings, including medical schools, forensic labs, hospitals, and private labs.

On average, a pathologist earns around $50,000-60,000 per annum.

Assistant laboratory technician

An assistant laboratory technician will provide assistance and support to professionals working in a pathology laboratory.

As an assistant lab technician, your duties may include:

  • Overseeing specimen collection and transport
  • Preparing samples for various types of testing
  • Maintaining laboratory reports
  • Maintaining and cleaning equipment and work area
  • Labelling specimens and ensuring they end up in the correct department
  • Managing lab supplies

An assistant lab technician can also work in hospitals or private labs. The average salary per year lies in the $40,000-$60,000 range.

If you’d like to become a qualified lab technician and not an assistant lab technician, you’ll need to do a diploma course. However, getting into the diploma course would require a relevant Certificate IV.

Medical laboratory scientist

You can become a medical laboratory scientist with a bachelor’s degree. You will help to conduct medical laboratory tests, and these tests assist with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.

If you choose to take up this role, your scope of duties may include:

  • Preparing samples for microscopic examination
  • Analysing tissue or body fluids to help with the diagnosis of a disease
  • Running tests to determine the concentration of a substance in body tissues or fluids
  • Maintaining and operating equipment
  • Ensuring that laboratory quality assurance and safety standards are met
  • Monitoring patient outcomes and relaying test results to physicians
  • Supervising a medical laboratory technician

The average salary of a medical laboratory scientist in Australia is $70,000 to 80,000 a year.

Final Takeaway: Final Takeaway: Pathology Courses and Careers in Australia

Becoming a pathologist is a long and demanding process, mainly because you’ll have to train and study to become a doctor.

However, you don’t have to become a pathologist to pursue a career in this field. Pathologist assistants, lab technicians, and lab scientists, to name a few, all play a part in the process.

There are a bunch of courses in pathology – including Certificate III, Certificate IV, and bachelor’s courses – that have minimal entry requirements and take only 1-4 years to complete.

Plus, you will play a crucial role in the diagnosis and detection of diseases, which ultimately enhances treatment outcomes for patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a pathology course take?

It depends on the type of course. A Certificate III or IV may take less than or up to a year. Meanwhile, a bachelor’s degree (Honours) would take four years to complete but opens up more career opportunities (which may be higher-paying).

How long does it take to become a pathologist in Australia?

It would take around 10-13 years to become a qualified pathologist in Australia. The process involves:

  • Completing a Bachelor’s
  • Getting into and completing medical school and becoming a medical doctor
  • Undergoing a minimum of 5 years of supervised training as a pathologist

How can I become a pathologist assistant?

One of the most common routes toward becoming a pathologist assistant in Australia is via a Certificate III In Pathology Assistance course. This course has minimal entry requirements—so you don’t need relevant educational or work experience.

Which course is best for pathology?

It really depends on which role you want to play in the process. If you enjoy work involving the collection and management of pathology samples, then a Certificate III in Pathology Collection is a great option.

Suppose you prefer to liaise with healthcare professionals and test and analyse samples to help with disease diagnosis. In that case, a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science will equip you well to handle such tasks.