Histotechnologist Schools

Many think of their primary care providers as the most important member of their healthcare team, but providing high-quality healthcare goes beyond a clinic. For example, when a lab sample is collected, the faster patients and providers know the results, the quicker a disease can be diagnosed and treated or ruled out completely.

Enter the work of histotechnologists and histotechnicians: lab professionals who prepare and examine human and plant tissue under a microscope to test for the absence or presence of medical conditions.

Histotechnology is an increasingly popular non-patient-facing role in the growing field of healthcare. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021), there will be an 11 percent increase in jobs for medical and clinical technologists and technicians, including histotechnologists and histologic technicians. Between 2020 and 2030, this occupation is predicted to grow much faster than the average anticipated for all careers in the same decade (8 percent). This profession requires specialized training in laboratory procedures, including specimen staining, identification, slide mounting, handling, and documentation.

Entry-level jobs in histotechnology typically require one year of training at a vocational school or an associate’s degree and on-the-job experience. According to O*NET, a research affiliate of the American Job Center Network, more advanced histotechnology positions require a bachelor’s degree with some exceptions. The degree necessary for particular subspecialties of histotechnology generally depends on the level of specialized training required.

The National Society for Histotechnology shows that history technologists work in many healthcare facilities, including hospitals, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and dermatology and MOHS surgery clinics.

To ensure knowledge and skills in this field are standardized, most histotechnologists pursue certification paths to verify their credentials. The primary certifying body for histotechnology professionals is the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Candidates for ASCP certifications typically have to complete an approved program before registering for the certification exam.

Read on to learn about histotechnology education programs to prepare for work in this satisfying science-based healthcare career.

Histotechnologist Degree & Certification Programs

Several histotechnology schools offer programs to prepare students for the ASCP exam and a career in this growing field. While there are no programs offered exclusively online due to the practical and clinical applications of the work, many flexible options offer hybrid or mixed programs.

Mayo School of Health Sciences – In both Rochester, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Florida, and Scottsdale, Arizona, the Mayo School of Health Sciences offers a histology technician program to applicants with some prior experience and training in the field. It features several biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and medical technology classes to prepare aspiring histotechnicians for their careers.

While the Mayo Clinic program prerequisites are more extensive than those of other programs, the job outlook and graduation rates are top-notch. This program boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent first-time board exam pass and job placement rate. This 24-credit program takes nine months to complete and recommends that applicants have a two-year associate of science degree (e.g., AS or AAS) before enrolling.

Graduates are rewarded with a certificate of completion through the Mayo School of Health Sciences, in addition to an option for an AS degree through the Rochester Community and Technical College (Minnesota only). The National Accrediting Agency accredits this program for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

  • Location: Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota
  • Duration: Nine months
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $285 per credit

Florida State College Jacksonville (FSCJ) – Located in Jacksonville, the Florida State College Jacksonville offers a histology technician program through Florida State College (FSC). This school combines didactic and hands-on instruction and gives the students the option of completing clinical rotations at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

This associate of science (AS) in histology technology program at FSCJ takes two years to complete and is accredited by the NAACLS. This program boasts an 84 percent ASCP exam pass rate and a 100 percent job placement rate. Also, this is a distance program with two mandatory face-to-face sessions during each of the six terms of the program. Students must also complete 565 hours of a clinical internship before receiving their degree.

  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $104.88 per credit (residents); $401.27 per credit (non-residents)

University of North Dakota (UND) – Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the School of Medicine & Health Sciences at UND offers a histology certificate (HT) program, which takes approximately nine months to complete. Similar to the other programs, it combines online coursework and laboratory sessions at clinical affiliate sites.

This 19-credit program offers some online flexibility and has the advantage of providing the same tuition rate to all students regardless of their residency. In addition, this program has a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation and a 92 percent pass rate on the ASCP exam.

  • Location: Grand Forks, ND
  • Duration: Two to three semesters
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $414.49 per credit

Keiser University – Available at its Orlando campus and online, the Keiser University histotechnology program requires 67 total credit hours to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level positions. This associate of science (AS) program is accredited by the NAACLS and provides quality education in the core concepts of histotechnology in addition to clinical and laboratory experience.

Some of the courses in this program include histology, microtomy, cellular biological staining, tissue identification, and immunohistochemistry staining. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn a minimum grade of C for general education courses to count toward the degree.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $34,968 per year

Barry University – In Miami Shores, Florida, Barry University offers a bachelor’s degree in clinical biology specializing in histotechnology. This degree program is designed for working students with lectures, hands-on laboratory experience, and clinical internships. The length of this specialization depends on the student’s prior college credits and experience.

The histotechnology option includes a five-month internship at clinical affiliate sites in Florida and prepares students for the HT and HTL certification exams offered by ASCP. This program boasts a 100 percent board exam pass rate and job placement rate after graduation.

  • Location: Miami Shores, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $30,014 per year

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List of Histotechnologist Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida www.keiseruniversity.edu 24
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston Texas www.mdanderson.org 15
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota college.mayo.edu 13
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte North Carolina www.carolinascollege.edu 7
Phoenix College Phoenix Arizona www.phoenixcollege.edu 5
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester Minnesota www.rctc.edu 5
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware www.dtcc.edu 4
Roosevelt University Chicago Illinois www.roosevelt.edu 4
Rowan University Glassboro New Jersey www.rowan.edu 3
Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.drexel.edu 2
George Washington University Washington District of Columbia www.gwu.edu 1
Oakland University Rochester Hills Michigan www.oakland.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Histotechnologist Hybrid & Online Programs

A number of the histotechnologist programs above offer some classes online. However, other schools have highlighted their distance and hybrid learning options for the convenience of prospective students. Unfortunately, there are no accredited histotechnology programs that students can take 100 percent online due to clinical work and training demands. Still, there are several options for busy people looking to pursue a certification in histotechnology.

Harcum College – The program at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, features a blended online curriculum to assist students who may have working, family, or other obligations that prevent them from participating in a more traditional brick-and-mortar style education. The first year features core science courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and general chemistry.

In contrast, the second year focuses on specialized histotechnology knowledge such as special stain techniques and applied histotechnology. The histotechnician program coordinator works with students to make a lab schedule that fits their needs. Harcum College reports its graduates to have a 100 percent graduation and job placement rate and are prepared to take ASCP exams upon finishing the program.

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $26,000 per year (full-time); $825 per credit (part-time)

Harford Community College – Located in Bel Air, Maryland, Harford Community College offers a ten-month NAACLS-certified online histotechnology certification program. Eligibility requirements include completing biology, chemistry, and math, in addition to some laboratory experience.

The online coursework is self-paced, and students can expect to spend an average of 20 hours a week on coursework and clinical assignments. Please keep in mind that due to some state policies regarding state licensure for histotechnologists, residents in New York, Florida, and Texas should consider a different educational program to meet unique licensure requirements.

  • Location: Bel Air, MD
  • Duration: Ten to 12 months
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $4,945 total

SUNY Broome – In Binghamton, New York, SUNY Broome has a one-year online histological technician certificate program that prepares students for the national ASCP certification exam and New York state licensure. The program is a flexible, part-time, hybrid-learning approach combining didactic training in core histotechnological concepts and hands-on practical training. Students enrolled in this 32-credit program can complete clinical fieldwork at approved locations near their homes.

Applicants for this school typically have earned or are in the process of earning an associate’s degree in a health science program or a related field before enrollment and will complete 320 hours of clinical training as part of the program requirements. New cohorts begin each fall semester.

  • Location: Binghamton, NY
  • Duration: Three semesters
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $2,544 per semester (residents); $5,088 per semester (non-residents)

Albany State University (ASU) – Located in Albany, Georgia, Albany State University offers a certificate and an AAS program in histotechnology the NAACLS approves. This 60-credit program is delivered in a hybrid environment with courses content, quizzes, and academic support available online. ASU has an online or hybrid option for the course content. Courses include parasitology, mycology, and virology, and histology laboratories. Students who choose to complete their training online must pursue their clinical training at a local affiliate.

  • Location: Albany, GA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $95 per credit

In sum, there is a lot of flexibility in histotechnology programs for people with busy schedules. In addition, hybrid and online programs are expected to expand as histotechnology training programs, and others are offered in blended learning environments.

School City State Website grads (2018)
University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota und.edu 16
Baptist Health College Little Rock Little Rock Arkansas www.bhclr.edu 7
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Histotechnologist Core & Elective Courses

Following are some basic math and science courses that are offered either as part of a histotechnician or histology technician training program or are recommended prerequisites:

  • Basic anatomy & physiology
  • General organic & biochemistry lab
  • General psychology
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Microbiology
  • Pathophysiology

In addition, several core courses appear in many histotechnician or histology technician programs, including:

  • Introduction to histology
  • Cellular biological staining
  • Principles of fixation
  • Diagnostic histology
  • Immunohistochemical staining
  • Tissue identification
  • Microtomy
  • Histology externship (clinical work)
  • Histotechniques
  • Histochemistry
  • Histopathology

As part of a more advanced program, such as a master of science in histology, courses that go deeper into the subject will be required. Some of these courses could include:

  • Advanced histology
  • Microbiology
  • Medical ethics
  • Laboratory management and leadership skills

Histotechnologist Program Accreditation

Choosing an accredited program is vital since it is required to earn future certification. Accreditation means that a program or institution has been evaluated for its faculty, facilities, and curriculum. The leading accreditation organization for histotechnician or histology technician programs is the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). To earn accreditation status, programs must adhere to the following procedures:

  1. Submit a thorough self-study
  2. Have an official site visit
  3. Be evaluated by a review committee
  4. Evaluation of the subsequent review by the quality assurance committee
  5. Evaluation by the board of directors
  6. Accreditation

In addition to programmatic accreditation from the NAACLS, applicants can look for a school's overall institutional accreditation. Although the process for institutional accreditation is quite similar, it applies to the entire school rather than just one program. Institutional accreditation is typically granted by regionally distinct organizations such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are many reasons why there has been an explosion in demand for medical technicians such as histotechnology professionals in the United States.

First, there has been an increase in the average age of the population, leading to a greater need to diagnose conditions such as cancer and diabetes. Medical technicians and technologists are the backbones of much of this diagnostic lab work. Additionally, as medical technology continues to advance and a growing number of people are offered health care through measures such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is a concurrent rise in the need for these trained medical professionals.

The BLS (2021) predicts that the ranks of medical and clinical technologists and technicians will grow at different rates between 2020 and 2030 and are faster than the 8 percent growth projected for all occupations in that same decade:

  • Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians: 11 percent
  • Health Technologists and Technicians: 9 percent

From a general perspective, the BLS shows the salary for occupations related to histotechnology, clinical laboratory technologists, and technicians is $55,990 (BLS May 2020). This figure is slightly below the national average salary for all occupations at $56,310 (BLS May 2020). Salaries vary depending on levels of education and experience, and salary percentiles for this position generally fall into one of five percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $31,450
  • 25th percentile: $39,680
  • 50th percentile (median): $54,180
  • 75th percentile: $69,650
  • 90th percentile: $83,700

Certification often correlates with higher pay, and having more advanced training and credentials with ASCP certification often helps boost earnings. PayScale, an aggregator of self-reported salary data, confirms this with certified histotechnologist (HT) and non-certified salary figures (Dec. 2021):

PayScale also shows salaries are higher for histotechnicians with HTL credentials from the ASCP (Dec. 2021):

Read on to learn more about ASCP certification for histotechnologists below.

Career Facts Histotechnologist
Related CareersClinical / Medical Laboratory Scientist, Cytogenetic Technologist / Cytotechnologist, Microbiology Technologist, Surgical Technologist
Common Job TitlesHistotechnician, Histotechnologist, Histology Technician, Histology Technologist
Technology & EquipmentHistological Knives or Blades, Histology or Cytology Slide Stainers, Laboratory Staining Dishes or Jars, Microtomes (E.G., Rotary Microtomes, Sled Microtomes, Ultramicrotomes, Vibratomes), Tissue Processors, Software (E.G., Label-Making, Medical, Office Suite, Spreadsheet)
Sourced from BLS, Sept. 2021

Histotechnologist Licensing & Certification

To become a licensed histotechnician (histology technician) or histotechnologist, a person must take an exam after completing an accredited program at a histotechnology school. The most common national certification is offered through the American Society of Clinical Pathology Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC).

The exam is in a computer-adaptive format and has a multiple-choice section as well as a clinical component. Upon passing the exam, individuals are licensed and receive a certificate. This HT certification is valid for three years and must be maintained through the Certification Maintenance Program (CMP).

There are two certifications for histotechnology professionals which call for different standards of minimum educational attainment:

  • HT(ASCP) for Histotechnicians (histology technicians), associate’s degree (typically)
  • HTL(ASCP) for Histotechnologists, bachelor’s degree (typically)

Since licensure requirements can vary by state, prospective histotechnologists need to contact their local histotechnology societies for the most current requirements.