[Histonet] HT/HTL practical exam - different opinion

tracy.bergeron <@t> crl.com tracy.bergeron <@t> crl.com
Fri Feb 2 07:53:30 CST 2007

I learned histology as a 1/2 semester independent study while I was in 
college, back in the early 90's.  I figured I would learn it to use as a 
back up career.  Little did I know it would end up as a career.
        But 99.9% of my experience was OJT, and all of my OJT was with 
animal tissue.  I have always worked in veterinary and research fields of 
histology. (pays better than clinical - at least in New England anyway)
        This experience leaves one at a definitely disadvantage when it 
comes to certification.    As far as I know the ACVP has no interest for 
what ever reason, in offering it's own histology certification programs. 
So those of us with no human tissue experience who want to get certified 
are stuck, figuratively speaking, taking the ASCP cert. exams. 
        I am not saying this is a bad thing, but when it comes to taking 
the practical examination, it can be very difficult to get tissues that 
fit the size requirements when all the tissue you have access to is from 
rodents, and occasionally something a little larger.  I was lucky enough 
to have some contacts and was able to get the human tissue needed for both 
of my practicals, but I have heard of others who have not had such an easy 
        By eliminating the practical, in some respects it partially levels 
the playing field between techs trained in the veterinary and research 
communities and those trained in a clinical setting.  All of the 
information for the computer examination can be found in text books, and 
the internet.  There is still a lot of information on both exams (more in 
the HTL than HT), that puts the clinical trained tech at an advantage to 
the veterinary/research tech.  There were a lot of things I had to learn 
for both exams that I will probably never have to deal with, worry about, 
or even know, as I have no interest in entering a clinical environment. 
        Now I am in no way complaining about the exams, leaning towards 
one area above the other because the exams are offered by the ASCP a 
clinical pathology organization.     But at least the veterinary/research 
folks no longer have to scrounge for tissues to fit the size requirements 
which are based on human tissue.

        Figured I would send out a different opinion on the practical.

Tracy E. Bergeron, BS, HT, HTL (ASCP)
Charles River Laboratories
Wilmington, MA
978-658-6000 x 1229

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