What Is a Histotechnician? - Job Description & Salary

If you love anatomy, would like to work in a health-related field and are interested in the idea of handling microscopic evidence, consider a career as a histotechnician. Learn about the job role and salary to see if this career could be the perfect fit. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Histotechnicians spend most of their time in a laboratory setting working under a microscope. They play an important role in helping doctors find a diagnosis. The key details about this career are presented in the table below, so you can familiarize yourself with the education required, salary, skills and projected job growth.

Degree Required Certificate program or associate's degree
Education Field of Study Histology
Certification and Licensure Certification is dependent on state
Key Skills Communication skills, works well under pressure, patience, mechanical skills, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, accuracy, reliability
Median Salary (2019) $51,432 (histology technician)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)**

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is a Histotechnician?

Histology is a scientific discipline concerned with the study of microscopic structures of tissues and cells from living organisms. A histotechnician works in a laboratory; they often use a light microscope and electromicroscope to identify disease. For example, they may examine tissues for cancer cells or carry out an autopsy to investigate the cause of death. Histotechnicians can work in a variety of scientific settings and fields such as hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, operating rooms, forensics, marine biology, immunopathology and veterinary science.

What Do Histotechnicians Do?

Histotechnicians' daily duties often include preparing thin layers of tissues for a pathologist to examine, by either putting the specimen on wax blocks or soaking the tissue in wax. They will identify different tissue structures and have knowledge of the staining procedures. Staining allows specific cells and structure to become visible under the microscope. A histotechnician will be required to maintain equipment, perform quality control, have knowledge of extenuating factors that can affect results, and interact with healthcare professionals and other staff. They may perform tests on tissues under the direction of a pathologist.

How Do You Become a Histotechnician?

To become a histotechnician you will need to take courses in biology, chemistry, math, and computer science at the high-school level. You will need to complete a certificate program or obtain an associate's degree in histology. It is recommended you check that your program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Licensure is required by some states. Most employers request certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) to work as a histotechnician. Although it is not a requirement, it is strongly encouraged.

How Much Do Histotechnicians Earn?

According to Payscale.com, a histotechnician can expect a median salary of $51,432 annually in 2019. The top-earning 10% earn over $78,342 while the bottom-earning 10% make less than $31,320. The BLS reports occupational data of histotechnicians within the category clinical laboratory technologists and technicians. The BLS states that in 2017, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians could expect to earn a median salary of $51,770 annually.

What is the Career Outlook for a Histotechnician?

Although the specific job outlook for a histotechnician isn't available, the BLS projects that jobs for the category of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians will increase by 13% between 2016 and 2026. This is much higher than the average growth expected for all occupations of 7%. An aging population will contribute to the need for more clinical laboratory technicians and technologists in order to help identify disease.

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