Are you intrigued about joining this profession? Then, you need to know the steps before launching a career in the field. Lucky for you, this article will focus on becoming a histotechnologist.
But before we do that, let’s briefly review the roles of these practitioners.
Histotechnologists are among the critical clinical team of staff working behind the scenes.
They ensure bodily tissue samples are correctly processed and evaluated under a microscope. Such models could be those of animals, humans, or plants.
Moreover, these experts can also use histology to understand the microscopic structure of these tissues and further detect any disease or abnormalities within them.
That said, histology is fundamental to biology, medicine, and pathology. These disciplines are critical for diagnostics and prognostics in clinical settings today.
What is a histotechnologist?
HTs are clinical lab technologists who specialize in preparing slides of cells and tissues for evaluation by certified pathologists.
The preparation includes working with dyes, chemicals, and reagents to make any abnormalities visible under examination.
An expert in this field needs to focus on precision, attention to detail, and manual dexterity due to the immediate and fragile nature of the work.
Histotechnologists supervise and manage the histology lab, stain tissues to differentiate various structures, process tissue, and embed it into paraffin blocks.
Adhering accurately to procedures, keeping a clean workplace, and recording each step are additional duties of these experts.
Histology Technologist Education
You’ll need to take about three steps to grow into an expert.
They include satisfying the minimum academic requirement, gaining hands-on experience, and acquiring histotechnologist certification from recognized agencies.
Do you still need more explanation? Keep reading.
Get the Minimum Academic Credential
Fortunately, you can take three educational routes to enter this field.
You can complete a two-year clinical lab experience program in histopathology or obtain your high school diploma. You can also work in the sector with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
A high school diploma will equip you with foundational knowledge and skills to handle essential roles in the industry.
You’ll take classes in math, biology, computer science, chemistry, and other subjects throughout your study. These histotechnology programs, like an associate’s or undergraduate degree, will prepare you for graduate school.
Earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in histology science will significantly improve your understanding of its theory and applications.
You can quickly get entry-level work in various scenarios with a certificate or associate degree. These include hospitals, research facilities, laboratories, and private practices.
Meanwhile, a bachelor’s degree or higher will qualify you for top positions with a higher salary in diverse occupations. We refer to marine biology, botany, veterinary, and forensic science.
Acquire Hands-on Experience
To succeed in this career path, you’ll need some significant experience in the field. Such competency can be acquired during or after your studies.
For instance, some histology programs offer considerable hands-on lab work and clinical practice. This will give students practical work experience in the industry.
Instead of completing a program in histology, you can also take entry-level jobs to gain experience. Many healthcare facilities will be willing to hire you, considering your academic background.
After a while, you can seek top positions to increase your earning potential.
An attestation of your competency in the field is optional to enter this profession. However, it’s highly recommended for aspiring practitioners to have one.
Such credentials will demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in histotechnology to potential employers. In addition, it will set you apart from other job seekers in a competitive job market.
The correct certificate to obtain right now is HTL.
This material is available to qualifying applicants through the Board of Certification of the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Specific requirements must be satisfied before obtaining such credentials.
One must have completed a histotechnology program within the last five years accredited by NAACLS.
Additionally, you must have one year of recent full-time job experience in a histopathology lab or similar field. Finally, you must pass the necessary professional credentialing authorities’ established professional exams.
Certification Exams for Histotechnologists
The ASCP HTL exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that must be solved in 2.5 hours.
Exam subjects include processing, lab techniques, staining, fixing, and microtomy. However, you must first pay a $240 fee before you can take the test.
Once you pass the challenge, you’ll be issued your credential. However, you may be required to renew the certificate after a certain period. While updating, certain conditions must be fulfilled.
These include paying for recertification and finishing some hours of continuing education.
The Time it Takes to Become a Histotechnologist?
You must know the time commitment to become an expert in this field. This will help you make the right choice of study program, among other essentials.
Because prospective histotechnologists require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and a training program, it will take around two to five years.
1-2 years can be committed to earning an associate degree.
Then, four years of full-time studies are enough to finish an undergrad. After that, you’ll need at least one year of hands-on experience in the field.
Does a Histotechnologist Need a License to Operate?
Whether or not you’ll require a permit to function depends on the state in which you reside.
However, most practitioners in this field are medical and clinical lab scientists. Therefore, they’ll need a state-issued license to work unrestricted.
From state to state, there are different requirements for this permit. As a result, you must contact your local licensing board to find out what credentials are required to work in this sector.
Cost of Finishing a Histotechnology Program
You must also be aware of the expenses associated with completing a program of study in this area. That will assist you in making financially wise judgments.
Additionally, prepare adequately for the voyage ahead. The price of credit in a histotechnology program can now range from $210.68 to $1,211.
While true, this amount can change depending on a few factors. These include your choice of study program, institution, and residential status.
Becoming a histotechnologist can be both rewarding and exciting. Apart from helping pathologists prepare tissue samples, you can take home a handsome salary.
Moreover, the occupation will open up more employment opportunities in the coming years. If you desire to become an expert in this field, the steps are above.