How to Become a Histologist

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    • 1). Determine your career and education goals. The two career titles in histology have different educational requirements. Histology technicians (histotechnicians) can earn a certificate of completion from a school accredited by the accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Technicians prepare specimens and or perform manual testing following the instructions of a supervisor.

      Histotechnologists must have a bachelor's degree along with accredited histotechnology experience, according to the National Society for Histotechnology. The histotechnologist performs more complicated procedures including immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy and acts as a laboratory supervisor.

    • 2). Complete a histotechnology program, or acquire your degree and pursue histotechnology training. The National Society for Histotechnology website provides a list of accredited schools offering either the Histology technician certification program or an advanced program after completing your bachelor's degree in an affiliated field such as chemistry or biology (See Resources). For certification programs, you will be required to take a placement exam and complete certain coursework, including the study of histologic techniques and chemistry used in stain identification. Histotechnology candidates will possess a bachelor's degree, and have completed either a histotechnology program or one year of experience as a histotechnician to qualify for ASCP certification.

    • 3). Take the appropriate certification exam. Visit the ASCP website for certification exam instructions for histologic technicians and histotechnologists (See References). You will need to provide proof of education and relevant work experience, including l transcripts and reference forms from any clinical laboratory work. Once the ASCP approves you to take the test, you will be directed to Pearson VUE to register for the examination and select your test site (See Resources).

    • 4). Search for employment. Begin with national professional organizations like the National Society for Histotechnology and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Both groups provide online career centers with employment listings. Search for openings and create an online profile that includes an updated copy of your resume including your new certification credentials. Creating online profiles with these organizations will help clinical laboratory recruiters find your resume when recruiting new talent.

    • 5). Contact your school career placement office to inquire about job leads. Some schools will network with alumni to help find jobs. After certification, update your school career placement center and provide a copy of your updated resume and expressed interest in a histology career.

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