Histologic Technician Career Guide

Overview and Job Duties

Over the years, there has been considerable growth in the healthcare field. Advancements in technology and medical knowledge have saved countless lives and improved the quality of life for millions. One of the most crucial specializations within medical science is histology, which is the study of human tissue and internal organs. If the idea of performing a vital service to patients and working closely with other physicians and specialists appeals to you, consider a career as a histologic technician.

Histology is considered an essential part of pathological science and arts. Histology laboratories and the specialists who work in them make valuable contributions and provide quality services of great assistance to pathologists. On the most basic level, histologists create detailed tissue slides and provide them to pathologists to either confirm or dismiss a diagnosis. In addition to other complex and highly technical tasks, histologists also carry out a good deal of administrative work in management.

Job Outlook

Histology is only one of many rewarding careers possible in the healthcare field. It is especially rewarding in the fact that one can feel secure in the knowledge one’s work is helping others, even while that work helps pay the bills and support one’s family. Since the field is growing by leaps and bounds, histology technicians seldom have trouble finding suitable employment. They most frequently work in private laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and research centers. They might also be offered work in larger organizations as department managers, lead histologic technicians, or supervisors. Actual job placement depends on experience, education, skills, and individual facility needs.

Salary Trends

As of June 2012, the average yearly salary for a histologic technician was reported to be around $40,000 (simplyhired.com). Many states also offer attractive benefits along with a fixed salary. These benefits typically include pension plans, medical and dental insurance, long-term disability insurance, incentive programs for continuing education opportunities, paid membership and dues for professional histologist societies, paid parking,and even business cards.

Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming a histologic technician is to take additional courses in English, science, and math beyond core basic requirements while in high school. The next step is to earn an associate’s degree, during which students will complete a one-year internship or perform other training in a histopathology lab to gain real-world experience. Additional education typically leads to better chances of being chosen from a pool of employee candidates, better pay, and more responsibilities at work. Whether the student chooses to end with an associate’s degree or continue to a higher degree, he or she must pass national examination in order to be certified to practice. Every state has different requirements for specific education and licensing needs, so be sure to check with the health board of the state in which you wish to practice.

If traditional on-campus education doesn’t fit into your busy schedule, you could opt for an online degree program. By going this route, you can continue your education on your own time while working around your existing employment schedule or around whatever other commitments you might have. This may also help save both time and money.

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