Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Histotechnology Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

Histology is the branch of medicine dealing with microscopic examination of body tissues. Students in associate's degree programs in the subject gain a basic education in the subject so that they can work as histotechnicians or get further training.

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Essential Information

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Histotechnology programs teach proper procedures for grossing, embedding, mounting and staining tissue samples obtained from biopsies and autopsies. These are turned into slides which are then analyzed by pathologists and supervising healthcare professionals. Aspiring histotechnicians must fulfill seminar, laboratory and practicum requirements prior to completion of the program, which takes about two years.

In addition to a high school diploma, prospective students may be expected to have completed prerequisite courses such as biology and chemistry. Some states require background checks for students planning to become healthcare professionals.


Associate of Applied Science Degree in Histotechnology

Most AAS programs require 64 to 68 hours of coursework. Students in these programs learn to distinguish between slides that are properly prepared and those that must be corrected. In addition to general education requirements, course topics could include:

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Medical terminology
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is predicted to increase by 11% over the 2018-2028 period (www.bls.gov). Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians typically work under the supervision of other licensed medical professionals and can find employment at clinical laboratories, hospitals or pharmaceutical companies. The BLS stated that medical and laboratory technicians earned a mean yearly salary of $41,700 in May 2018, while medical and clinical laboratory technologists earned a mean annual salary of $62,440.

Continuing Education

Most degree programs in histotechnology prepare students to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology's national certification examination. Graduates can then become licensed histotechnicians.

Those interested in becoming histotechnologists typically need training beyond the associate's degree level. Interested individuals can apply to bachelor's degree programs with majors in biological sciences or allied health. After completing bachelor's degree programs, graduates can participate in postgraduate histotechnology certificate programs or histotechnology master's degree programs.

By earning an AAS in Histotechnology, students gain the necessary lab training to become licensed histotechnicians. Graduates who want to pursue more advanced jobs as histotechnologists can continue their studies in health-related bachelor's degree programs.

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