Histologists and histologic technicians prepare tissue samples for examination by a
pathologist. Their work is an essential part of determining whether a patient is suffering from a disease dysfunction or malignancy.
• prepare sections of human, animal or plant tissue for diagnostic, research or
• process tissue and embed into paraffin blocks, then mount thinly-sliced tissue
sections onto a glass slide for microscopic study.
• stain tissue to differentiate various structures or components. The slide is then
evaluated by a pathologist or other scientific investigator.
• supervise and manage a histology laboratory.
Histologists/histotechnologists receive more training and perform more complex procedures than histologic technicians. Histologic technicians perform routine specimen
preparation procedures and assist histologists.
Most histology personnel work in clinical pathology labs; some may work in veterinary
plant or marine histology, pharmacology and medical or research laboratories.
Average Salary Range
$36,000 – $52,450 (histotechnologist)
$28,000 – $34,000 (technician)
Students intending to pursue one of these careers should prepare by taking challenging high school courses in science, math and English. Histotechnologists must either have a bachelor’s degree in an approved major
(e.g. biology, chemistry) and one year of experience in a histopathology lab or complete a formal histotechnology educational program. They also must pass a national exam.
There are three paths to becoming a histologic technician. Students can earn a high school diploma and complete two years of clinical laboratory experience in histopathology. They can complete an accredited program in histotechnology, or they can earn an associate’s degree and complete one year of clinical lab experience in histotechnology. They also must pass a national exam.
National Society for Histotechnology
4201 Northview Drive, Suite 502
Bowie, MD 20716
American Society of Clinical Pathologists
2100 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 738-1336, ext. 440