Histology is a structural science concerned with the demonstration of cellular morphology, chemical composition and function of normal and abnormal tissue. Many dyes and chemicals are used in histology and it is necessary to know their composition and how they act and react with each other. This knowledge, combined with an understanding of tissue composition, enables the histotechnologist to appropriately treat the tissue of interest. The end result yields a tissue section exhibiting distinct colors, making it possible to distinguish tissue structures through microscopic examination.
Histotechnologists, also known as Histologists or HTLs, are experienced laboratory personnel that prepare human or animal tissue samples for microscopic examination. These samples are used for diagnosing disease, conducting research, and teaching medical personnel.
Individuals interested in a career in histotechnology should have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in histotechnology or an approved major. They must then receive at least one year of training in a histopathology laboratory under a certified pathologist. In addition to these educational requirements, students are expected to pass an examination given by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). Students interested in histotechnology should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.
Histotechnologists, also known as Histologists or HTLs, are experienced laboratory personnel that prepare human or animal tissue samples for microscopic examination. These samples are used for diagnosing disease, conducting research, and teaching medical personnel. Slides are prepared by freezing and cutting sections of tissue, mounting the sample on a slide, and staining them in order to emphasize the details. Another way that samples can be accurately examined is embedding the sample in wax. The samples are then cut into very thin slices using a microtome. Other methods for studying tissue samples include dehydration, mounting, fixation, sectioning, decalcification, and microincineration. This work is often done while a surgical team is awaiting a pathologist's diagnosis; therefore the work must be done extremely quick and accurate. Histotechnologists perform more complicated procedures than histologic technicians and are often in the role of supervisor or instructor. Since laboratory tests have become increasingly important in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many illnesses and diseases, histotechnologists are vital members of the medical laboratory team. Individuals interested in histology should be detail oriented and be able to work as a team.