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 micro incineration. This work is often done while a surgical team is awaiting a pathologist's diagnosis; therefore the work must be done extremely quick and accurate.
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.
1. Prepares histologic slides from tissue sections for microscopic examination and diagnosis by Pathologist: Prepares sections of human or animal tissue for immediate examination, using rapid tissue processing and frozen section technique to freeze, cut, mount and stain tissue specimen received from surgery.
2. Operates computerized laboratory equipment to fix, dehydrate, and infiltrate with wax, tissue specimens to be preserved for study by Pathologist.
3. Prepares slides of specimens, using specified stain, to enhance visibility under microscope.
4. Examines slides under microscope to ensure tissue preparation meets laboratory requirements.
5. May study slides under microscope to detect deviations from norm and report abnormalities for further study.
6. May supervise activities of laboratory personnel and be known as Supervisor, Histology.
Education & Experience:
Bachelor's degree in Medical Technology or related science field is required. Additional certification in Histotechnology is required. Relevant expertise in the field required to handle function independently.