Histology technicians, also known as histotechnicians, prepare tissue samples for diagnostic examination. Community colleges offer histology certificate programs under titles like histotechnology certificate, histology certificate, and histology technician certificate. Each of these certificate programs is designed to provide students with a solid background in the field of histology, which is the study of how human cells combine to make up tissue and organs.
Histology certificate programs combine classroom learning with clinical instruction. Students receive technical instruction in preparing tissue samples for examination by learning how to freeze, cut, and stain them for visual clarity. Some schools offer online coursework, but students must visit campus a couple of times a week for labs. Many programs also require clinical rotations in hospitals.
Many students can complete the certificate program in a year. Graduates can qualify to apply for professional certification, which is not mandatory, but could help with career advancement.
- Prerequisites: Complete basic courses in medical terminology, anatomy, biochemistry, and English communication
- Other Requirements: High school diploma or GED
Histology Technician Certificate Program
While working through the courses in a histology technician certificate program, students will gain a conceptual understanding of histology as well as a practical understanding of histologic techniques. Courses may include:
- Histologic procedures
- Tissue fixation and processing
- Histology clinical practicum
- Chemistry of staining
- Tissue identification
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which includes histotechnicians within the category of medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, reported that in May 2015, histotechnicians earned an average salary of $50,550. The BLS also reported that medical and clinical laboratory technicians in general held 328,200 jobs nationwide in 2010.
Certification and Continuing Education
The American Society for Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) offers histotechnician certification. In order to gain certification, individuals must have either completed a histology program in the past five years, or else completed an associate's degree program as well as one full year of experience in the histology field. Histotechnicians with a certificate in the field can advance to the position of histotechnologist by completing an associate's degree program in histology.
Aspiring histotechnicians can find certificate programs that combine classroom learning with clinical instruction for a career that has an average salary of $50,550.