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Histotechnology

What is it? Histotechnology

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.

How to Become a Histotechnologist:

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.

What Type of Work do Histotechnologist do? Histotechnology

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.

Histotechnology Education Information:

  • In order to become a histotechnologist, you'll need to have a bachelor's degree and certification from a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA) accredited program. In addition to histology and histochemistry, you'll learn processing techniques, preparation of specimens and microcopy. Courses in histotechnology generally include the following:
    • Medical Terminology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Immunology
    • Anatomy and Physiology
  • AllAlliedHealthSchools
  • CampusExplorer.com
  • AlliedHealthWorld

Histotechnology Licensing/Testing Information:

  • National certification as a Histology Technician is not currently required yet may become a future entry level standard for employment. Graduates of the program would be eligible for national certification through the board of registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Students must prepare for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) national certification examination. Those who pass the exam are certified as Histology Technicians (HT). Certified HTs usually work in human health care, veterinary, industrial, or research laboratories.
  • Licensing regulations vary from state-to-state. Many do not require a specific license to practice as a histotechnologist however certification is highly recommended because many employers require it. One may achieve certification after successful completion of both a laboratory practical and written examination that demonstrates a sufficient knowledge and expertise to meet a national standard. Certification from a national certifying agency such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) allows one to utilize the initials HTL(ASCP) after one’s name in all professional communications.
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology Certification

Histotechnology Associations/Organizations Information:Histotechnology

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