University of Wisconsin–Madison

Histotechnologist (HTL)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Histotechnologists are also known as tissue technologists. They prepare microscopic slides from tissue samples for examination by pathologists and scientists.
  • Histotechnologists (Bachelor’s Degree) perform more specialized procedures than Histotechnicians (Associate Degree) and also serve as supervisors.
  • Their duties may include preparing slides using computerized laboratory equipment to preserve tissue samples for study, identify tissue types for orientation during embedding and cutting, performing special stain procedures and doing frozen sections on fresh tissues for rapid diagnosis. They are also responsible for quality control of testing procedures and examining slides to ensure that the preservation or preparation of the tissue was performed properly.
  • Most Histotechnologists work in the pathology laboratories at hospitals, clinics, or medical and research laboratories.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Histotechnologists enjoy performing essential medical procedures that enable physicians to save lives.
  • Tasks require patience, fine motor skills and the ability to work quickly but carefully in individual or group settings.
  • Some would like more interaction with patients.
  • Admission to training programs is limited.

Getting Started

  • High School Courses
    • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
    • Courses should include algebra; science courses including, biology, physical science, and a lab course (chemistry); and at least two years of a foreign language. Computer science is also suggested.
    • Shadowing a Histologist is strongly recommended.
  • Education and Training
    • At UW-Stevens Point students complete 3 years of campus-based coursework including anatomy & physiology, microbiology, genetics, statistics, microscope techniques, hematology, mycology, parasitology, body fluid analysis, and cell biology. Clinical Laboratory Sciences is the major and for their senior year they choose laboratory practicum in one of three options: 1) Histotechnology 2) Cytotechnology 3) Medical Technology.
    • Another option is to attend any accredited college/university, satisfy the science prerequisites, graduate and then complete a Histotechnology Program (12 months). Remember licensing requires a Bachelor’s Degree.
    • Aurora is a 12-month, full-time, hospital based program providing academic and practical experience in histology. Individuals entering the program with an Associate Degree are eligible to take the HT certification exam, individuals entering with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree are eligible to take the HTL exam.

    Educational Institutions

    University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

    • Any accredited college/university earning a baccalaureate degree taking a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of biology and chemistry and one math class earning a ‘C’ or better. Graduate, then apply for accredited Histotechnology Laboratory Program.

    Histotechnology Laboratory Program

    Aurora Consolidated Laboratory School of Histotechnology

  • Method of Entry
    • To become a certified Histotechnologist both a written and practical exam via the American Society of Clinical Pathologist (ASCP) is required.
    • To be eligible for the licensing exam the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) states an applicant must satisfy requirements one of two routes.
    • ONE, baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university with a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of biology and chemistry AND successful completion of a National Accrediting Agency of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) accredited Histotechnician or Histotechnology program within the last 5 years.
    • Or TWO, baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university with a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of biology and chemistry AND one year full time acceptable (JCAAO) accredited laboratory within the last 10 years. Year experience must be under supervision of certified pathologist or board certified medical scientist.
  • Professional Organizations

    American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
    1861 International Drive, Suite 200
    McLean, VA, 22102
    571/748-3770
    www.ascls.org

    National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
    5600 N. River Rd., Suite 720
    Rosemont, IL, 60018-5119
    773/714-8880 or 847/939-3597
    www.naacls.org

    National Society for Histotechnology (NSH)
    8850 Stanford Blvd., Suite 2900
    Columbia, MD, 21045
    443/535-4060
    www.nsh.org

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 3,570
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 164,800
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 187,900
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 14%
Expected Annual Openings: 6,250
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $56,416

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Histotechnologists work a 40-hour week; Monday thru Friday.
  • Can work rotating weekends and holidays.
  • Individuals with backgrounds in biochemistry could work in the field of stain technology.
  • Management/supervisory positions in labs are also options, especially with HTL certification.