Histology is an essential component to the art and science of pathology. The histology laboratory contributes a valuable service to help pathologists provide patient diagnoses. Information gained through microscopic evaluation of tissue slides prepared by histology technicians allows a pathologist to either identify or dismiss disease. The preparatory steps taken to ensure a quality diagnosis are key to this relationship. Knowledge of the basic pathologic conditions, skills in the use of precision equipment, and performance of special stains enable histology technicians to accurately demonstrate the morphology of tissue specimens. Knowledge of biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and medical terminology is essential for the professional histology technician or technologist. In addition, attention to detail, good manual dexterity, and above all, a concern for patient well-being are imperative characteristics of a good histology technician.
Characteristics of a typical histology technician:
- Enjoys working in a team
- Applies meticulous attention to detail
- Multitasks effectively
- Thrives with high degree of responsibility
- Likes working with visual stimulus
- Values lifelong learning
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Career opportunities for histology technicians are excellent, as histology remains a growing field. The current need for certified histology technicians far exceeds the supply of trained individuals.
Employment is available in clinical, research and private laboratories. Advancement is also possible into such fields as education, development, quality and management.
According to the 2010 American Society for Clinical Pathology Wage and Vacancy Survey the median average wage of a histology technician is $22.68 per hour, $47,174 annually.
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