Histology Technician

Prepare tissue for examination under a microscope.

What does a Histology Technician do?

Would you like to be involved in laboratory medicine, helping to understand how diseases affect us? If so, then a career as a histology technician may be a great option for you. Histology is a branch of anatomic pathology that deals with the microscopic study of tissue and cells of living things. It differs from cytology, which involves studying the structure and function of cells, and from serology, which involves studying blood serum.

Histology technicians, or histotechnicians, assist in histopathology research (studying biological specimens with a microscope) by preparing thin slices of human, animal, or plant tissue for viewing under a microscope using a precision instrument called a microtome. You need a good knowledge of biology and chemistry to get into this field. You also need excellent manual dexterity, as the tissue processing can be a delicate process.

As part of the job, you work with various chemicals and dyes, so understanding safe handling of chemicals is important. Coursework to prepare for this career typically involves biology, including pathology and laboratory work, chemistry, and mathematics. Histology technicians don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree, though it is recommended. Most employers require at least a 2-year degree. Also, though not required by law, a certification that you may obtain through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is preferred by many employers.