If you have a BA or MA in laboratory work, you will be automatically recognized as a lab technician in Israel. If you studied other areas, you will be required to work for 6 months in a recognized laboratory. At the end of the work period, you will need to take a licensing exam.
Misrad Habriut offers a customer call center to answer questions about licensing for health care professionals. Call *5400 from Israel or 972-8-6241010 from abroad. The center operates Sunday through Thursday, 8am-6pm, and Fridays from 8am-1pm, Israel time.
If you have questions about your eligibility to meet Israeli licensing requirements, please see this link.
When you make Aliyah, bring the following documentation with you, so that you will be able to apply for Israeli licensing. All of these documents may need to be notarized and translated by an Israeli notary. However, we recommend bringing them now, but waiting to notarize and translate them until it becomes relevant (in case further changes to the process are made).
- Application form – Medical Licensing – Questionnaire.
- All original academic diplomas including a high school diploma (or letter from the dean of the faculty indicating that you completed your studies and are entitled to a diploma).
- Teudat Zehut (Israeli identity card).
- 3 passport photos.
- Official document confirming the start and end date of studies.
- Official document confirming completion of the specified period of practical work.
- Valid license.
- Official documents confirming clinical work in hospitals or medical institutions.
- Letter(s) of “Good Standing” from the appropriate professional boards.
A good working knowledge of Hebrew is essential. It is strongly advised to study Hebrew before you arrive and then to take Ulpan upon arrival. Even where an immigrant lab technician works entirely with speakers of his/her mother tongue, it is still necessary to deal with the various agencies that make up the Israeli medical network. For a full listing of Ulpan options, see the Ulpan Guide.
In addition to regular Ulpan, Misrad HaKlita offers an Ulpan for medical professionals – Shlav Bet. The class opens provided there are enough people who are interested. Be in touch with your local branch of Misrad HaKlita to find out when the next class will begin. For more information, see Medical Ulpan.
Thank you to Celeste Weiss-Katz for her participation in this interview.
Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
I am a research assistant/laboratory technician in the field of biological sciences. This is a very broad category which can include work in laboratories or research settings in a number of frameworks, such as universities, hospitals, biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Various positions exist for people with bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.
What is your current position?
In the universities, a large number (but not all) of the laboratory technician positions are filled by Ph.D.’s. The nature of the position is determined largely by the laboratory chief. In my case, I carry out independent research or work together with MSc. and Ph.D. students on joint projects. I am also responsible for preparing all materials and equipment for the student biochemistry lab course. This is a period of 4-5 months in which I have much less time to spend on my research.
How did you find your job?
I began as a post-doc in the same laboratory I work in today. After finishing the post-doc, I remained in the laboratory as a part-time assistant. Eventually, the position in the Biochemistry lab course became available which gave me the possibility of getting tenure.
What types of backgrounds are relevant for someone looking to work as a lab technician?
Any background in the biological sciences can be relevant.
What education and experience should an Oleh looking to become a lab technician come with?
A BSc, MSc or Ph.D in biological sciences – it depends on the needs of the particular lab.
Is there any kind of license or certification you need, to work as a lab technician in Israel?
Certification is required only for jobs as a Clinical Trial Associate (CTA) or a Clinical Research Associate (CRA). This certification process is often but not always done after being accepted to the job, but before starting the actual work. These are required for jobs involving clinical trials in: pharmaceutical companies, hospitals or the health funds.
How important is Hebrew in your field?
Since science is an international field, one can often manage even without Hebrew. This, of course, depends upon the specific job.
What are the benefits of your job?
Since my job is at the university, the biggest advantage is the flexibility of hours and the long vacation period. We have off for all of the Jewish holidays, plus about 20 days of vacation a year for full time (I have only a 75% position, so I get about 15).
Is this employment more in demand in certain areas of Israel?
Like most other fields, central Israel (the Tel Aviv area) has more of everything. This being said, many major cities have a hospital, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem also have big research universities. Rehovot has the Weizmann Institute, the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture and a large Science Park with many many biotech companies. In addition to a hospital, Tsfat has a medical school. A number of cities up north have biotech companies. Kibbutz Bet HaEmek has a large company that produces and supplies materials to many biology laboratories. Eilat has an oceanic research center. All of these places require lab technicians.
What is the salary range?
This will depend upon your degree and your specific place of employment. I would say that the range would be between 7,000 and 20,000 NIS a month gross salary, with the majority being at the lower end. At the universities, the few researchers with large amounts of funding will be able to pay higher salaries, and remuneration for Ph.D.’s can be at the higher end. Often, pharmaceutical companies will also pay higher salaries. Clinical trial associates often have good salaries and may offer a car and/or phone as perks. There are also positions as pharmaceutical representatives that may offer similar perks.
Do you have any other advice or tips for Olim?
If you are flexible and open minded, you will find work.
How do you feel about working and living in Israel?
I have been here for 27 years, basically for my whole adult life. I work with amazing and wonderful people and enjoy what I do. Life in Israel can be trying so you need to learn to go with the flow. There are many pockets of English-speakers to hook up with to get you started. The downside of this is that it slows down full integration into Israeli society (if that’s what you want).
A special thank you to Celeste Weiss-Katz for her participation in this interview. If you have further questions please contact Celeste at [email protected].