IABS – Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists
(Félag lífeindafræðinga)

Authorisation of Biomedical Scientists
In Iceland, the right to call oneself and work as a biomedical scientist is given to those who have completed the final examinations from the Faculty of Biomedical Science in the Department of Medicin at the University of Iceland, or an equivalent examination from a foreign university, and who have received the appropriate authorization from the Directorate of Health and Social Security.

Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists
To obtain authorization as a biomedical scientist in Iceland, it is necessary to send data concerning your qualifications to the Directorate of Health along with the application which, after reviewing the data, will either confirm your eligibility with authorization or decline.


Qualifications required for a Biomedical Scientist

The Ministry of Education is responsible for legally regulating the education of biomedical scientists. The degree or right to call oneself a Biomedical Scientist in Iceland is associated with a minimum of 4 years full-time education at B.Sc. level at a recognised university. The course involves lectures and practical sessions, work experience in research laboratories at the National University Hospital, and a research project.

At the Department of Medicin in the University of Iceland students graduate with B.Sc. after 3 years minimum but need to add an extra year to specialize in their chosen field of work or continue to do M.Sc degree and Ph.Degree. Both the Masters and Doctorate levels are undertaken in the Faculty of Biomedical Science in the Department of Medicin at the University of Iceland. Entrance requirements are a matriculation examination or equivalent, preferably with a scientific focus.

According to the Icelandic Law No. 34/2012 about Health Service Personell nobody can work as a Biomedical Scientist in Iceland without a registration and work permit from the Directorate of Health.

The Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists is a union as well as a professional body and fees are only payable through the employer as a part of salary agreements. Without employment as a Biomedical Scientist in Iceland, no fees will be forthcoming and the membership expires.

Applications for registration as a Biomedical Scientist in Iceland should be directed to the Directorate of Health. With the application it is necessary to send information about education. For further information it is best to contact the Office of the
Directorate of Health.
The Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists is a meber of NML, EPBS and IFBLS. The applicant’s registration in the Association of Biomedical Scientists in the country he or she is currently working as a Biomedical Scientist will be of great help both for the applicant and the task of assessing the applicant by the Icelandic Association.

The Icelandic Directorate of Helath requires the original of all documents rather that copies. However, certified copies (stamped) will sometimes suffice. The Ministry makes its own certified copies of the original papers and returns them to the applicant.

The following papers are required for application for registration:

• Passport.
• Work permit or application for work permit as a Biomedical Scientist in Iceland. Work permits are usually obtained with the aid of the  future employer. Work permit will be kept on hold by the Ministry until registration is confirmed.
• Transcripts of records, records of exams and degrees from the applicant’s university.
• Work certificate or proof of professional licence in the country where the applicant studied and/or from the country where the applicant recides and works (i.e. your Board Certificate, Board Rating and/or Professional Licence).

Attention! ONLY BIOMEDICAL (LABORATORY) SCIENTISTS can be registered as such in Iceland. No other education is accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the training of biomedical scientists involve?
The university courses take 4 years. To begin with, students learn the basics: chemistry and physics, anatomy and physiology, statistics and fundamental aspects of biotechnology. This is followed by instruction in methodology and the main fields of biotechnology in the health service, namely clinical chemistry, microbiology, histopathology, immunology, pharmacology and haemopathology. Molecular biology and genetics play a large part in the course, and a substantial research project is also carried out. Clinical placements take place in clinical chemistry, haematology, microbiology and histology laboratories. Students graduate with a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree and many go straight on to do their MSc degree which takes two years minimum with the possibility to continue into their PH D degree.

2. What professional standards are followed during the course of work as a biomedical scientist in Iceland, and how do biomedical scientists interact with other health professionals?
Icelandic Biomedical Scientists develope their own code of conduct. They work closely with medical doctors and all other hospital staff depending on the task at hand.

3. What is the professional title in Iceland (national and international)?
Lífeindafræðingur – Biomedical Scientist.

4. What professional job possibilities exist in your country?
Biomedical Scientists work in hospitals and clinics as well as research laboratories run by the state or local authorities. In addition, they work in large private genealogy companies, such as deCode Genetics, and in pharmaceutical companies and other laboratories run by the private sector.

5. Is there any possibility for self-employment (if yes, under what conditions)?
Yes. Should the Biomedical Scientist wish for a possiblity to reduce the cost paid by the customer/patient a permit from the Ministry of Health and Insurance is necessary.

6. What ministry is responsible for legally regulating the education of Biomedical Scientists (Ministry of Health, Science or Education)?
The Ministry of Education.

7. Is there any possibility of advanced university study (if yes, what sort of study)?
M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the Department of Medicine or the Faculty of Biomedical Science at the University of Iceland, carried out at the National University Hospital in Iceland.

8. What authorisation is required for work done by Biomedical Scientists (is a directive or referral by a physician necessary)?
Administrative medical doctors hold the administartive positions in the clinical laboratories. An initial official request by a physician is necessary for any professional activity if the price paid by the patient is reduced by the government. Theoretically a Biomedical Scientist can set up his or her own laboratory and operate without the reduction rate for which no reference is needed from a medical doctor. Should test results indicate anomalies the Biomedcial Scientist would suggest that the client should go to see a medical doctor. However, no Biomedicla Scientist has opened a private clinic in Iceland.

9. Are there any other assisting professions for laboratory tasks (what kind of education do they have, what is their title)?
Medical Laboratory Assistants and Biomedical Secretaries. No specific training is required for these professions, instead assistants are sent on short courses during work time.

10. Do Biomedical Scientists have the authority to delegate work to these assisting professions?

11. What are the requirements for teaching activities by Biomedical Scientists?
A Masters degree or a PH D degree in the subject.

12. Are specific education requirements laid down for teachers of Biomedical Science (if yes, at which institution, duration of the education, what kind of degree)?
Preferably the teacher should be working in the field (at a laboratory) he or she teaches as well as having a minimum degree in the subject.

13. What are the requirements for supervisors of Biomedical Scientists?
To have a degree in Biomedical Sciences or have acquired full rights as a medical doctor and do research.

Regulations of the Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists
Last agreed at the AGM of the Icelandic Association of Medical Technologists/ Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists 11 June 2005


The Association is called the Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists (Félag lífeindafræðinga in Icelandic), or FL for short. The address and location of the Association is in Reykjavík.

The role of the Association is:
To negotiate salaries and terms of contract of members.
To keep a close watch on the rights of members.
To promote additional education and retraining of Biomedical Scientists.
To promote professional and trade collaboration with Icelandic and foreign associations.
To work on issues connected with safety of members at the workplace.
To get members better acquainted with each other, for instance by information-, entertaining- and other social activities.

CHAPTER II MEMBERSHIP Application for memberrship

Those who have the right of membership of the Association are:

1. Those who have completed the examinations in biomedical science (medical technology) from a university in Iceland or equivalent educational institution.
2. Current members who obtained authorisation on the founding of the Association.
3. Professional membership consists of the right to participation in professional mattes of the work but not to decision-making on union matters, such as the election of a negotiation committee or a strategy in wage matters.
4. Students who have completed the first year of a course in biomedical science (medical technology) and are employed in temporary research posts can obtain associate membership. This provides all rights of the Association with the exception of election rights.
The Management Committee of the Association grants new members access to the Association.


The highest power in all matters of the Association lies with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of FL. It shall be held in March/April each year.
The following matters shall be on the programme of the Annual General Meeting:
1. Report of the Chair
2. Accounts of the Association
3. Amendments to the Regulations
4. Financial budget, decision on membership fees and other fees if applicable
5. Election to the Management Committee and auditors
6. Any other business

All members have the right to attend an Annual General Meeting. Notice of the meeting shall be sent in writing to members two weeks before the AGM. The notice of the meeting shall include:
1. The programme of the Annual General Meeting
2. Proposals of amendments to the Regulations, if there are any. The AGM is legal if notice of it has been legally given.


The Management Committee of the Association is composed of 7 individuals, elected at an Annual General Meeting. The election period of a Committee Member is two years. A Chair and three Committee Members shall be elected every second year, and in the intervening year three Committee Members shall be elected. At the first Management Committee Meeting after an AGM, the Committee of the Association shall divide up the work between members and nominate a Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. If more than two Management Committee Members resign and the AGM is more than two months away, a meeting of the Association shall be called with two weeks notice to elect new Committee Members at the same time as the others leave the Committee. No one can sit on the Management Committee for more than six years continuously, with the exception of a new Chair who has done previous committee work.

The Chair can call a committee meeting whenever necessary. A committee meeting shall be called if two Management Committee Members request it, and it shall be held within a week of the time the request was made.

The Management Committee of the Association holds the highest powers in all matters of the Association between Annual General Meetings and follows the Regulations and resolutions of the Association as well as answering questions that may arise as a result. The Management Committee is permitted to constitute committees to work on specific tasks.


Negotiating committees operate within the Association with respect to the State, municipalities, private non-profit institutions and employers in the open market. The role of the negotiating committees is to see to the making of contracts for a relevant group of members in relation to employers. An negotiating committee shall put a new wage agreement to a vote before the members in question.

Each negotiating committee shall consist of 3-7 delegates. Members who work for the same employer can elect a special negotiating committee, if this is requested. A request for a special negotiating committee shall be reported to the Management Committee of the Association. Prior to October 15 each year, the Management Committee shall hold a meeting that chooses the negotiators of the Association in relation to its contracting party. This meeting shall be called with two weeks notice.


Membership fees of those for whom the Association has the right to negotiate shall be determined as a proportion of salary and the Association sees to the collection of these monthly. Membership fees of other members shall be determined as a fixed annual fee and the Management Committee of the Association decides how this is collected. Pensioners do not pay a membership fee, but hold full union rights.

The accounting year of the Association is the calendar year. Audited accounts of the Association shall be put before an Annual General Meeting. An AGM elects two auditors and two deputies.


Resignation from the Association shall be announced in writing to the Management Committee of the Association, and the person in question is considered to have left the Association three months after notice of resignation has been tendered. A member who has not paid membership fees for two years is considered to have resigned from the Association. His/her resignation is relative to membership fees that should have been paid three months after the membership fee for last year was requested. If a Biomedical Scientist who has resigned from the association in this way wishes to rejoin the Association, he/she shall pay the unpaid membership fee on admission to the Association, at the rate for the year that he/she rejoins the Association. The Management Committee of the Association can remove a person from the Association if it is of the opinion that the person has misused the name of the Association for his/her benefit, been guilty of a major violation or consistently acted against the regulations, resolutions or interests of the Association.


The badge of the association is presented on entry to the Association. It is owned by the Association, but a specific amount is paid once for the authority to use it.


These Regulations may only be amended at an Annual General Meeting. Proposals for amendments must have reached the Management Committee before February 15 each year. In order for a proposal for an amendment to the Regulations to be considered agreed, it must have obtained a simple majority of elected votes.

The Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists takes over all rights and obligations of the Icelandic Association of Medical Technologists.


These Regulations take effect immediately. With the entry into force of these Regulations, the older Regulations of the Icelandic Association of Medical Technologists become invalid.

Last agreed at a continuation of the Annual General Meeting of the Icelandic Association of Biomedical Scientists 11 June 2005