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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Histotechnology

Majors Overview June 22, 2014

Histotechnicians stain and prepare tissue slides for microscopic examination and disease diagnosis. Students in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Histotechnology will be taught the proper procedures for handling, preparing, and slicing tissue samples for analysis by supervising healthcare professionals and pathologists.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Histotechnology

The microscopic examination of body tissues is covered in a branch of medicine known as histology. Students enrolled in histotechnology degree programs are trained in grossing, embedding, mounting, and staining tissue samples obtained from autopsies and biopsies for slides. Students are taught the proper techniques to use when they slice tissue samples and apply dyes in defining abnormal cells. They are also taught to identify slides that are not properly prepared and need to be corrected.

Additional to holding a GED certificate or high school diploma, students seeking admission to the program may be required to have completed required classes in chemistry and biology. Healthcare professional students are expected to submit background checks in some states.


Coursework amounting to 64 to 68 semester hours are required to be completed in an associate degree program in histotechnology. The program usually spans about two years and requires students to participate in practicum and laboratory experiences in addition to seminars before they complete the degree. Apart from general education courses, coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Medical terminology

Job and Wage Outlook

Good job prospects are expected for workers in the field with high job growth rates of 14% predicted for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians during the period of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]). Other licensed medical professionals typically supervise the work done by clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, who can seek entry-level jobs with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, or clinical laboratories. In May 2010, medical and laboratory technicians took home an average annual wage of $47,820.

Continuing Education

Students can use most degree programs as preparation for the national certification exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Passage of the exam will help them obtain licensure as histotechnicians. Graduates of the associate’s degree program can seek continued education by earning bachelor’s degree programs with majors related to allied health or biological sciences. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, they can target histotechnology master’s degrees or histotechnology certification.

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