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Oswego Career Ladders - Histotechnologist

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Industry: Healthcare
Area: Clinical Lab

Histotechnologists, also known as Histologists or HTLs, are experienced laboratory personnel that prepare human or animal tissue samples for microscopic examination. These samples are used for diagnosing disease, conducting research, and teaching medical personnel. Slides are prepared by freezing and cutting sections of tissue, mounting the sample on a slide, and staining them in order to emphasize the details. Another way that samples can be accurately examined is embedding the sample in wax. The samples are then cut into very thin slices using a microtome. Other methods for studying tissue samples include dehydration, mounting, fixation, sectioning, decalcification, and microincineration. This work is often done while a surgical team is awaiting a pathologist's diagnosis; therefore the work must be done extremely quickly and accurately. Histotechnologists perform more complicated procedures than histologic technicians and are often in the role of supervisor or instructor. Since laboratory tests have become increasingly important in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many illnesses and diseases, histotechnologists are vital members of the medical laboratory team. Individuals interested in histology should be detail oriented and be able to work as a team.

Work Settings

The majority of histotechnologists work in pathology laboratories in hospitals and clinics. They may also work in medical or research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, doctors offices, or government agencies.


Students must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in histotechnology or an approved major. They must then receive at least one year of training in a histopathology laboratory under a certified pathologist.

Job Outlook

Employment opportunities for histotechnologists are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all other occupations.


Average Annual Salary $52,100

Work Schedule

Individuals usually work a 40- hour week and may be required to work nights or weekends depending on place of employment.

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