Histotechnologist Careers Basics
Histology is the study of cells and tissues, and histotechnologists use their knowledge of these structures to identify abnormalities in cell and tissue structure. Also known as histologic or tissue technologists, these laboratory technologists work with delicate instruments, as well as chemicals and glass slides, to prepare slides for examination and perform complex procedures to process body tissue in order to analyze a specimen under a microscope.
Histotechnologist Careers & Degrees
- Carrington College: Carrington College - Phoenix Westside
Histotechnologists have close working relationships with many professionals in the healthcare field. Whether they are preparing slides for the pathologist or rushing results of suspicious tissue to the anesthesiologist in the operating room, histotechnologists play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and accuracy of treatment for patients.
Histotechnologists work everywhere from research laboratories and doctors offices to pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.
With advanced training, histotechnologists may choose a career specialty, such as electron microscopy (where the tissue is much smaller than those use in histology) or immunohistochemistry (which uses a process of staining sites to identify tumor cell lines within the tissue).
Histotechnologist Careers Path
In order to become a histotechnologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
Since students usually don’t gain entrance into histotechnology programs until their junior or senior year, it is important to complete undergraduate requirements in the first two years.
Through these programs, students gain the basic fundamentals of histochemistry and histology. While learning the processing and preparatory techniques, students study subjects like biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, immunology and medical terminology.
Upon completion of a histotechnology program, graduates are eligible to sit for national certification exams necessary to become a Certified Histotechnologist (CHTL). The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) board of registry offers these exams, and though requirements for certification vary between states, most employers do require their employees be certified.
Histotechnologist Careers: Compatible Personality Traits
Independent, meticulous, responsible. Good analytical judgment, attention to detail, manual dexterity, good vision, and the ability to problem solve and work under pressure.
Histotechnologist Careers: Salary Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and clinical laboratory technologists like histotechnologists earned a median salary of $46,680 per year in 2010.
Histotechnologist Careers: Job Outlook
Employment of medical and clinical laboratory workers is expected to increase by 13% over the 2010-2020 decade, which is faster than average for all occupations. This growth is due to an increasing population, and development of new types of diagnostic testing.
Due to a continuing shortage of histotechnologists across the nation, demand for these professionals will be great. Since demand will be high, histotechnologists will have an unlimited choice of practice setting, including hospitals, clinics, public health facilities, and for-profit laboratories.
U.S. News and World Report included laboratory technicians in its list of the 50 best careers of 2010. They estimated that job growth for clinical laboratory workers is expected to rise 16%.
While hospitals will still continue to be the largest employer of clinical and medical laboratory workers, there will be new opportunities in private diagnostic labs, physicians’ offices, and other ambulatory healthcare facilities.
Hospitals will continue to be the largest employer of clinical and medical laboratory workers, though opportunities are expected to grow in diagnostic laboratories, physicians’ offices, and other ambulatory healthcare facilities.
Slightly Off the Footpath
Sources: nsh.org/; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm (visited February 18, 2013).