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How Do I Become a Histotechnician?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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There are four items necessary to become a hisotechnician: post-secondary education, work experience, licensing, and fine motor skills. A histotechnician is a laboratory technician responsible for creating microscope slides of body tissue for a pathologist. This role is expected to have a greater than average growth rate in the next five to seven years.

Histotechnicians can find employment opportunities in a wide range of laboratories, ranging from research to specialized medical clinics. In order to become a histotechnician, attention to detail, manual dexterity, focus, and precision are all required. Histotechnicians are also known as histology technicians.

The first step to become a technician is to obtain a post-secondary education. A wide range of community and career colleges offers histotechnician programs. These programs are typically one to two years in length and include a clinical work experience term.

In order to qualify for admissions, students require high school courses in chemistry, math, computer science, and biology. When selecting a school for the training required to become a histotechnician, make sure that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been evaluated by an independent third party to evaluate the academic and administrative policies to ensure compliance with a minimum standard. Only courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other institutions. In addition, accredited schools can offer their students access to government student aid programs.

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Almost all training programs to become a histotechnician include a work term or cooperative job placement. These opportunities to gain clinical experience are very important, as they add to both the student's resume and the ability to relate course work to practical applications. The awarding of prime job placement opportunities is typically based on course marks and level of participation in class discussions.

A certification as a histotechnician is available from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) upon evaluation of academic credentials, a minimum 100 hours clinical experience, and a written examination. Upon successful completion of the examination, technician certified by the ASCP, as can use HT as a professional designation. The examination covers laboratory standards, techniques, and cell structure recognition.

Fine motor skills, diligence, and focus are all very important if you want to become a histotechnician. People who have the highest level of satisfaction in this career enjoy working independently, and put a high value on precision and accuracy. The opportunities for teamwork, personal interaction, and socialization are limited in this role, as the daily tasks require full mental concentration.

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anon229603
Post 3

Anybody know any good schools in NJ for a Histotechnician??

BoniJ
Post 2

@BabaB - I have a friend who works in career counseling. She tells me that anyone who goes into the health care field has a good chance of having a long career. Technology in medicine is growing so fast, new tests and techniques for diagnosing diseases are becoming available. Pathology offices are becoming busier and busier.

More people seem to be getting cancer, which requires a lot of tissue, and blood testing.

In addition, because of better nutrition and control of chronic disease, people are living longer, but not necessarily healthier. The older they get, the more screening tests are needed.

Then in the forensics's field, more violent crimes are being committed. Pathologists and histotechnicians are needed to test tissue and blood to help determine the facts of the crime.

So, it looks to me like it's a good field to go into.

BabaB
Post 1

I am thinking of starting a career working in some kind of a lab. Being a histotechnician sounds interesting. My kids are now grown, and I want a career in the medical field, but I'm not interested in being a nurse. I prefer to work independently. I like to concentrate on my own tasks and not have to jump from one thing to the next.

Does anyone know the reasons why they say that the career of pathology lab assistant is expected to grow in the next few year? At my age, I want to have some assurance that this job has a good future and hopefully no layoffs.

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