Histology technicians, also called histotechnicians, work within medical laboratories to prepare and collect human tissue for diagnostic examination. Associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree programs are most commonly offered.
A.A.S. Programs in Histotechnology
Degree programs in medical laboratory science or clinical laboratory science are devised to assist prospective histotechnicians. However, associate’s degree programs specifically aimed at the histology field are also offered by some community colleges. Coursework in such programs combines classroom lectures and clinical studies to make students adept at providing assistance to licensed pathologists in diagnostic labs and healthcare facilities.
A histology program employs introductory courses to impart students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular biology, microbiology and human anatomy. Students also need to have an in-depth understanding of lab procedures and safety is they wish to complete an accredited histology program successfully.
Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Students with a strong background in English language communication, math, biology and physics, may be allowed to skip some courses by sitting tests in these subjects.
Coursework in an associate’s degree program in histotechnology combines classroom lectures, clinical studies and laboratory experiences to give first-hand knowledge on the collection and preparation of tissue samples for analysis. Coursework may include relevant topic areas such as:
•Capstone histology cases
•Human anatomy and physiology
Job and Wage Outlook
There were over 325,800 clinical laboratory technicians employed in the U.S. in 2012 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), including histotechnicians, mainly working in diagnostic laboratory facilities and general medical hospitals. In May 2012, histo-technicians took home an average annual wage of $39,340. During the same period, histotechnicians employed in hospitals earned an average annual wage of $40,050, while those who worked in diagnostic labs took home $37,670.
Continuing Education and Certification Choices
Certified credentials are offered for both histotechnologists and histotechnicians by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Histotechnicians aspiring to become histotechnologists can earn a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science with a specific focus on histology. Colleges also offer master’s degree programs in medical laboratory science including concentrations or courses in the subject of histology.