A histology technician, also known as a histotechnician, works within medical laboratory settings to collect and prepare human tissue for diagnostic examination. Many histotechnicians acquire their training through degree programs in clinical laboratory science or medical laboratory science. However, some community colleges do offer associate's degree programs specifically aimed at the field of histology. Students are also expected to gain a comprehensive understanding of laboratory procedures and safety before they graduate from an accredited histology program. Following graduation, a professional certification might be gained through the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Passage of a qualifying examination is required. A high school diploma or GED is a definite requirement to gaining acceptance into a 2-year associate's degree program in the field of histology.
- Program Levels in Histology: Associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
- Other Requirements: Clinical lab training
- Program Length: Two years
Associate's Degree in Histology
Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in histotechnology spend their time in classroom, clinical and laboratory settings, learning first-hand how to collect and prepare tissue samples for examination. Some courses that lead up to those skills include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- General chemistry
- College mathematics
- Histology practicum
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Clinical laboratory technicians in general held 161,500 jobs in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). These technicians, including histotechnicians, primarily worked in general medical hospitals and diagnostic laboratory facilities. The average yearly salary for medical and clinical laboratory technicians in May 2014 was $40,750; those in hospitals made an average of $41,210 and those working in diagnostic labs earned $40,180.
Certification and Continuing Education
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers certification for both histotechnicians and histotechnologists. Histotechnicians who are interested in becoming histotechnologists can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in clinical laboratory science with an emphasis in histology. Master's degree programs in medical laboratory science are also available, and offer courses or concentrations in the subject of histology.