Histotechnicians are specialized medical laboratory workers who prepare tissue samples for examination. Learn about courses, job outlook and salaries in this field.
What Histotechnician Training Programs Are Available?
You might find programs that last from less than a year to two years. Certificate and associate's degree programs are offered at universities, community colleges, state colleges and technical colleges. If you pursue an associate's degree, you may be awarded an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. Certificate and associate's programs are both offered online. You may be required to participate in clinical work and hands-on training while enrolled in an online program.
|Degree Programs||Certificate, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science|
|Course Topics||Internal organs, microbiology, immuno-histochemistry, cytology and lab safety|
|Certification||Not required, but available through the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the National Society for Histotechnology|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for all clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$51,731 (for all histology technicians)**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
What Courses Can I Expect to Take?
If you enroll in a certificate program, you can expect to take introductory courses for your focus. You can learn about the internal organs, human cellular structure and body systems. Your classes will develop your abilities in staining cellular samples, as well as discuss lab safety, proper methodology and testing procedures. Programs might offer courses in histotechnology, microbiology, basic medical terminology, anatomy and physiology. These programs may require you to attend several clinical sessions.
Associate's programs may require you to enroll in several general education courses, including biology, chemistry, algebra and college writing. Your program may touch on topics including cryotomy, cytology and immuno-histochemistry. You may also have the opportunity to learn advanced tissue staining and laboratory procedures. You can expect courses in techniques, special stains, functional histology, histopathology, laboratory practice and technical skills. Associate's degree programs might also require you to participate in clinical work.
What Do I Do After I Finish My Education?
Although it may not be required, you might have the opportunity to pursue certification. For this career field, the only recognized credential agencies are the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the National Society for Histotechnology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that if you decide to continue your education, you might want to consider a bachelor's degree in medical technology (www.bls.gov). A bachelor's degree education could advance you into a career as a technologist.
The BLS states that, between 2016 and 2026, additional coverage for formerly uninsured individuals might contribute to a 13% increase in clinical laboratory technologist and technician positions. Another possible contributing factor could be growth in the elderly population. PayScale.com estimated that, as of August 2019, histology technicians earned a median salary of $51,731.