Nursing Education
Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi - 2006  <more..>
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Histotechnologists, also known as Histologists or HTLs, are experienced laboratory personnel that prepare human or animal tissue samples for microscopic examination. These samples are used for diagnosing disease, conducting research, and teaching medical personnel. Slides are prepared by freezing and cutting sections of tissue, mounting the sample on a slide, and staining them in order to emphasize the details. Another way that samples can be accurately examined is embedding the sample in wax. The samples are then cut into very thin slices using a microtome. Other methods for studying tissue samples include dehydration, mounting, fixation, sectioning, decalcification, and microincineration. This work is often done while a surgical team is awaiting a pathologist's diagnosis; therefore the work must be done extremely quick and accurate. Histotechnologists perform more complicated procedures than histologic technicians and are often in the role of supervisor or instructor. Since laboratory tests have become increasingly important in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many illnesses and diseases, histotechnologists are vital members of the medical laboratory team. Individuals interested in histology should be detail oriented and be able to work as a team.

Work Environment:

The majority of histotechnologists work in pathology laboratories in hospitals and clinics. They may also work in medical or research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, doctor's offices, or government agencies. Individuals usually work a 40-hour week and may be required to work nights or weekends depending on place of employment.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in this type of medical laboratory specialty should take high school courses in algebra, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, computer skills, English, health occupations/medical professions education, and physical education.

College Requirements:

Individuals interested in a career in histotechnology should have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in histotechnology or an approved major. They must then receive at least one year of training in a histopathology laboratory under a certified pathologist. In addition to these educational requirements, students are expected to pass an examination given by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). Students interested in histotechnology should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

Employment opportunities for histotechnologists are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all other occupations. The US Department of Labor predicts an increase of 10% to 20% over the next eight years. The rapidly growing older population will be one reason for this growth, since older people tend to have more medical problems that will require lab work. New and improved diagnostic tests and other advancements in technology will also add to a rise in employment in this sector. As in most occupations, many openings will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other companies, retire, or stop working for some other reason.


Average Annual Salary
Salary Range

Professional Organizations:

National Society for Histotechnology
4201 Northview Drive, Suite 502
Bowie, MD 20716-2604
Phone: (301) 262-6221

American Society of Clinical Pathologists
2100 W Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60612-3798
Phone: (312) 738-1336

Mississippi Society for Histotechnologists
Sally Jordan-President
Phone: (601) 362-9854

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