A histotechnologist combines technical skills with scientific knowledge to perform a variety of tissue-related procedures in various laboratories. A histotechnologist prepares and stains tissue for the routine and special identification of bacteria, fungus, cancer and tissue structure abnormalities for diagnosis by a pathologist. Histotechnologists also prepare and perform testing on tissue by means of immunohistochemistry, molecular pathology, or electron microscopy.
Individuals interested in a career as a histotechnologist must have a keen interest in science and mathematics. These professionals also must have patience, precision, fine manual dexterity and the ability to work with minimal supervision. Patient contact is limited.
To prepare for a career in histotechnology, a student must have a strong background in sciences such as biology, chemistry and math. The career of histotechnologist requires the combination of a bachelor's degree plus clinical education in an accredited histotechnologist program or a bachelor's degree and on-the-job training. Beaumont has one of only two accredited histotechnology programs in the United States.
Students who elect to enter an accredited histotechnology program may do so by two routes.
The first route is the "3+1" format. Students take three years of appropriate prerequisite courses at an affiliated college or university.During the fourth year, they complete their professional education in an affiliated clinical internship that is usually located in a hospital. In this route, students are granted a Bachelor of Science degree from the college or university upon successful completion of the clinical internship.
The second route of entry into an accredited histotechnologist program is the "4+1" route. Students in this route complete their bachelor's degree at a college or university offering the appropriate prerequisite courses and then seek admission into a histotechnologist clinical internship.
An alternate for students who have a bachelor's degree with at least 20 credit hours of biology and/or chemistry involves one year of on-the-job training to meet the requirements to sit for the certification examination.
In today's economic conditions, most employers prefer to hire students who have graduated from an accredited program for histotechnologists because it is too expensive and time consuming to train a student on-the-job.