What type of education is required to become a histotechnician?
In most cases, a minimum of an associate’s degree is necessary to earn a position as a histotech. Most histology programs include a clinical internship experience working in a hospital or private histotechnology lab setting. Some histotechs opt to complete a bachelor’s degree, which further prepares them for success and marketability in this exciting field.
What types of histology schools are available?
Histology programs are offered through community colleges, technical schools, some four-year universities and some online universities.
Is certification in this field required?
A national certification exam administered through the American Society for Clinical Pathologists is required for histotechnologists. This exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions and a passing rate of at least 75% is required. “HT” is the credential awarded to those who pass the certification exam. Those with a bachelor’s degree have HTL as their credential. Continuing education units are not required in the histotechnology field at this point. Once you have been certified, there is no renewal necessary. However, there are a variety of opportunities to earn continuing education through the National Society for Histotechnology for those interested in keeping abreast current happenings in the field.
Is a state license required in this field?
Currently, Florida is the only state that requires licensure for histotechs. All other states only require the national certification credential.
Are there specialties in this field?
A histotechnologist interested in pursuing a specialty within this field may choose to explore electron microscopy, which involves working with much smaller tissue that requires the use of a microscope to cut. By using advanced techniques, these specialized histotechs are able to cut sections of tissue thin enough to show cellular ultrastructure using an electron beam. Another specialty within the field of histotechnology is immunohistochemistry. This field involves identifying tumor cell lines within tissue by staining antigenic sites.