Is becoming a histotechnologist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do histotechnologists do?
Career Satisfaction
Are histotechnologists happy with their careers?
What are histotechnologists like?

Still unsure if becoming a histotechnologist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a histotechnologist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Histotechnologist

Becoming a histotechnologist involves specific educational and professional steps. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to pursue a career in histotechnology:

  • Educational Requirements: Start by earning a bachelor's degree in a field such as biology, chemistry, or a closely related discipline. Some histotechnologists enter the field with degrees in histotechnology directly.
  • Histotechnology Program: Pursue a histotechnology program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). These programs, often offered by universities, colleges, or hospitals, provide specialized training in histotechnology techniques. Alternatively, you can complete an associate degree or a certificate program specifically in histotechnology if you already have a bachelor's degree in a related field.
  • Clinical Training: Complete a clinical internship or practicum as part of your histotechnology program. During this hands-on training, you will gain practical experience in a clinical laboratory setting under the supervision of experienced histotechnologists.
  • Certification: While certification is not legally required to work as a histotechnologist, obtaining certification enhances your job prospects and demonstrates your expertise. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers the Histotechnologist (HT) certification exam. To be eligible for the exam, you typically need to graduate from a NAACLS-accredited program or have several years of work experience in histotechnology.
  • State Licensure (if applicable): Some states have licensure or state-specific certification requirements for histotechnologists. Make sure to check the regulations in the state where you plan to work and fulfill any additional requirements if applicable.
  • Professional Development: Stay updated with advancements in histotechnology by participating in continuing education programs and workshops. This ongoing learning is crucial to maintaining your skills and knowledge in the field.
  • Job Search and Networking: Begin your job search by applying for histotechnologist positions in clinical laboratories, hospitals, research institutions, pathology offices, or other relevant healthcare facilities. Network with professionals in the field, join histotechnology organizations, and attend conferences to expand your professional connections and learn about job opportunities.
  • On-the-Job Training: Once employed, you will likely receive on-the-job training specific to the protocols and procedures of the laboratory where you work. Follow established laboratory practices and safety guidelines.

Histotechnologists have the option to pursue professional certifications to demonstrate their expertise and competency in the field. The primary certifying body for histotechnologists is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Here are the certifications available for histotechnologists through ASCP:

Histotechnician (HT) Certification:

  • Eligibility: Candidates are eligible for the HT certification exam if they have completed an NAACLS-accredited histotechnology program or have met alternative eligibility routes based on education and work experience.
  • Exam: The HT certification exam is a comprehensive test that assesses the knowledge and skills of histotechnicians. It covers various aspects of histotechnology, including tissue processing, embedding, sectioning, staining, laboratory safety, and quality control.
  • Certification: Upon passing the exam, candidates earn the HT certification, which demonstrates proficiency in histotechnology techniques.

Histotechnologist (HTL) Certification:

  • Eligibility: Candidates are eligible for the HTL certification exam if they have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or have met alternative eligibility routes based on education and work experience.
  • Exam: The HTL certification exam is a more advanced test that assesses the knowledge and skills of histotechnologists. It covers advanced techniques, laboratory management, quality assurance, and laboratory safety.
  • Certification: Upon passing the exam, candidates earn the HTL certification, indicating a higher level of expertise in histotechnology.

International Certification:
ASCP also offers certification options for histotechnologists trained outside the United States through its international certification program. This program allows qualified candidates from other countries to earn ASCP certification, provided they meet specific eligibility criteria and pass the required exams.

Histotechnologists who obtain ASCP certification are required to participate in the Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) to maintain their certification. This program ensures that certified professionals stay current with advances in the field through continuing education and professional development activities.