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Histotechnology is an essential component to the art and science of pathology and plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Histology technicians and technologists prepare thin slices of tissue for microscopic examination by a pathologist.
Histology technicians operate precision equipment and work with a variety of dyes and chemicals to make tissue abnormalities visible with a microscope. Knowledge of biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and medical terminology is essential for the professional histology technician or technologist.
Characteristics of a typical histology technician include:
- Enjoys working in a team
- Exhibits strong fine motor skills
- Applies meticulous attention to detail
- Multitasks effectively
- Thrives with high degree of responsibility
- Likes working with visual stimulus
- Employs empathy for patient well-being
- Values lifelong learning
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 professionals nationwide.
Employment is available in clinical, research and private laboratories. Advancement is also possible into areas such as education, test development, quality assurance and management.
The Histology Technician Program at Mayo School of Health Sciences in Minnesota has a 90 percent graduation rate and a 96 percent employment rate within six months of graduation (averaged over three years).
According to the 2010 American Society for Clinical Pathology Wage and Vacancy Survey, the median average wage of a histology technician is $22.68 an hour, which is $47,174 annually (most recent data available).