Histotechnology Associate's Degree
As a histology technician, you take samples from a subject and prepare them properly so the pathologist can study them under a microscope and arrive at a correct diagnosis. Get overviews of the associate's degree programs that can prepare you for this job. Learn how to choose a program and see what you'll study. See what common licensure and certification requirements there are. Schools offering Clinical Research Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Where Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Histotechnology?
At the website of the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, you can find a list of 40 schools and hospitals that offer accredited and approved programs that may lead to a certificate or associate's degree in histotechnology as of July 2011 (www.naacls.org). A similar list, with descriptions of the programs offered, can be found at the website of the National Society for Histotechnology.
Another source you might use to help you locate a program is the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which maintains a searchable, online database for postsecondary institutions. As of July 2011, an NCES search for histologic technology or technician yielded 17 colleges and universities with associate's degree programs (www.nces.ed.gov). Programs are usually found in a department or school of pathology or health sciences.
Can I Complete a Program Online?
Entirely online programs leading to an associate's degree in histotechnology are nonexistent. However, hybrid programs are available. You may be able to complete didactic courses in an online format, but you must complete practicum requirements live. You may be able to select a school-approved clinical facility close to home from which to complete these experiences.
If you're already working at a medical lab, you may be able to earn a professional certificate as a histologic technician in a partially online program that usually takes less than a year to complete. You access lectures via the Internet and fulfill your clinical requirements at your place of employment. In general, you must hold an appropriate associate's degree in order to enroll in such a certificate program.
What Will I Learn?
It can take you over two years to complete a program consisting of 65-76 credits leading to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Histotechnology. Typical courses can include human anatomy, human physiology, medical terminology, histology techniques, microbiology, staining, fixation and chemistry. You may have the opportunity to complete a clinical internship at a pathology laboratory.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the job outlook for lab technicians is quite favorable. The 2010-2011 edition of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook asserts that in the period of 2008-2018, employment for medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to increase by 16% (www.bls.gov).
Am I Licensed and Certified Upon Graduation?
Graduation doesn't indicate licensure or certification. According to the BLS, all states have different licensure requirements. You can find that information by contacting your state's health department an occupational licensing board.
Employers generally prefer that you become certified. Associate's degree programs serve to prepare you to sit for a certification examination administered by a professional organization. Associations offering histology technician certification include the American Association of Bioanalysts, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
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