Histotechnologist Schools & Certification

Many think of their primary care providers as the most important healthcare team member, 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, 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 2023), there will be a 5 percent increase in jobs for medical and clinical technologists and technicians, including histotechnologists and histologic technicians. Between 2022 and 2032, this occupation is predicted to grow faster than the average anticipated for all careers in the same decade (3 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. 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 histotechnologists 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

Auburn University of Montgomery
University of West Florida
Grand Canyon University

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 Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL, and Scottsdale, AZ, the Mayo School of Health Sciences offers a histology technician program to applicants with prior experience and field training. 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 and 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: Rochester, MN; Jacksonville, FL; and Scottsdale, AZ
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Nine months
  • Estimated Tuition: $295 per credit

Florida State College Jacksonville

Located in Jacksonville, Florida State College Jacksonville offers a histology technology program. This school combines didactic and hands-on instruction and gives the students the option of completing clinical rotations. Prepares graduates for employment as entry-level clinical laboratory professionals, the program focuses on comprehension and mastery of the histotechnology body of knowledge in conjunction with clinical skill development.

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 82 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.

This 76-credit program includes courses such as histotechniques; medical terminology; histology; histopathology; and special topics in histological techniques.

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

University of North Dakota

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

This 19-credit program offers some online flexibility and provides 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 93 percent pass rate on the ASCP exam.

  • Location: Grand Forks, ND
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to three semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $422.78 per credit

Keiser University

Available at its Orlando campus and online, the Keiser University histotechnology program requires 67 total credits 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 immunohistochemical 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
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the university for a customized assessment

Barry University

In Miami Shores, FL, 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
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,000 per credit

List of Histotechnologist Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota https://und.edu 17
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston Texas https://www.mdanderson.org 13
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota https://college.mayo.edu 12
Lakeland Community College Kirtland Ohio https://www.lakelandcc.edu 11
Phoenix College Phoenix Arizona https://www.phoenixcollege.edu 8
Alamance Community College Graham North Carolina https://www.alamancecc.edu 6
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte North Carolina https://atriumhealth.org/education/carolinas-college-of-health-sciences 6
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware https://www.dtcc.edu 6
Vance-Granville Community College Henderson North Carolina https://www.vgcc.edu 6
Community College of Baltimore County Baltimore Maryland https://www.ccbcmd.edu 4
Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania https://drexel.edu 3
Roosevelt University Chicago Illinois https://www.roosevelt.edu 3
University of Mississippi University Mississippi https://olemiss.edu 3
Oakland University Rochester Hills Michigan https://www.oakland.edu 2
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester Minnesota https://www.rctc.edu 2
Rowan University Glassboro New Jersey https://www.rowan.edu 2
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

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 students can take 100 percent online due to clinical work and training demands. Still, there are several options for busy people pursuing a histotechnology certification.

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
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Full-time ($29,500 per year); part-time ($935 per credit)

Harford Community College

Harford Community College is located in Bel Air, MD, and 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
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Ten to 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $4,945 total

SUNY Broome

In Binghamton, NY, 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 33-credit program can complete clinical fieldwork at approved locations near their homes.

Applicants for this school typically have earned or are 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.

The curriculum includes courses such as human histology; histological techniques; advanced histological techniques; introduction to clinical laboratory technology; anatomy & physiology; and general chemistry, among others.

  • Location: Binghamton, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents ($2,736 per semester); non-residents ($5,472 per semester)

Albany State University

Located in Albany, GA, Albany State University offers a certificate and an AAS program in histotechnology that the NAACLS approves. This 60-credit program is delivered in a hybrid environment with course content, quizzes, and academic support available online.

ASU has an online or hybrid option for the course content. Courses include parasitology, mycology, and virology; principles of chemistry; introduction to microbiology; introduction to histology; principles of chemistry; and histology laboratories. Students who complete their training online must pursue clinical training at a local affiliate.

  • Location: Albany, GA
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($1,030 per credit); non-resident ($1,294.67); online ($395 per credit)

Indiana University

Indiana University offers an online associate of science program in histotechnology providing students with the educational experiences necessary for entering a career as a histologic technician. Students in this program will be able to flex their mechanical ability and knowledge of immunology, biology, anatomy, chemistry, and molecular biology as histotechnologists. They will learn to work with automated equipment, delicate instruments, chemicals, glass slides, and knives.

For graduation, students must complete 60 credits, including 30 credits of undergraduate general education courses and 30 credits of histotechnology program courses. Graduates will be eligible for the ASCP Board of Certification Histotechnician exam.

Upon completion, graduates will be ready to work as histotechnicians in hospitals, dermatopathology, clinics, urology labs, public health facilities, pharmaceutical companies, veterinary pathology, industrial research, forensic pathology, and marine biology.

  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $217 per credit

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center offers a certificate program in histotechnology providing clinical histotechnology training and preparing health professionals for a career in a histology laboratory. Courses in this program are a combination of online, on-campus, and clinical practicums performed in an accredited laboratory setting.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 2.8. They must have completed prerequisite coursework in biology and chemistry. Application requirements include two letters of recommendation from college instructors or employers, official transcripts, and TOEFL scores for foreign applicants whose native language is not English. Students with degrees older than five years may be required to update science courses.

This 22-credit program includes courses such as histology; histotechnology theory; histotechnology practice; laboratory techniques; and a practicum.

  • Location: Memphis, TN
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the university for a customized assessment

In sum, histotechnology programs have a lot of flexibility 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 ('21)
SUNY Broome Community College Binghamton New York https://www.sunybroome.edu 2
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

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

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 (2023) predicts that the ranks of medical and clinical technologists and technicians will grow at different rates between 2022 and 2032 and are faster than the 3 percent growth projected for all occupations in that same decade. Notably, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are projected to grow by 5 percent.

From a general perspective, the BLS shows the median salary for occupations related to histotechnology, clinical laboratory technologists, and technicians is $59,130 (BLS Sept. 2023). This figure is slightly below the national average salary for all occupations at $61,900 (BLS May 2022). Salaries vary depending on levels of education and experience, and salary percentiles for this position generally fall into one of five percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $32,220
  • 25th percentile: $40,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $57,380
  • 75th percentile: $74,920
  • 90th percentile: $84,670

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 (December 2022):

PayScale also shows salaries are higher for histotechnicians with HTL credentials from the ASCP (December 2022):

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, May 2022

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 with a multiple-choice section and 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 that 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.

Jocelyn Blore
Jocelyn Blore Managing Editor

Jocelyn Blore has interviewed dozens of medical technology and healthcare professionals, and edited hundreds of articles related to this field since 2015. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Jocelyn traveled the world for five years as freelance writer and English teacher. After stints in Japan, Brazil, Nepal, and Argentina, she took an 11-month road trip across the US, finally settling into lovely Eugene, OR. When Jocelyn isn’t writing about college programs or interviewing professors, she satirizes global politics and other absurdities at Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). Thank you for being so interested.