[Histonet] uncertified techs in Histology

Pamela Marcum pmarcum <@t> vet.upenn.edu
Wed Feb 11 12:15:54 CST 2009

I am sorry I seemed to have expanded this discussion.  I want to be clear on
part of the record.  I was OJT trained in the 60's.  We had even fewer
schools and options then.  The person who trained me had been trained by the
pathologist and the Ann Preece book in histology.  She knew what the
pathologists we worked with wanted and saw to it that was what they got

When I worked in other places later and continued my education I did learn
more about the chemistry and why it worked or failed.  I was in research
when I took my HT and was told if I used animal tissue I would fail as no
one on the board back then was experienced with it.  I did not know if it
was true so I quickly found a hospital where I could complete everything on
human tissue I processed and stained.  The person running that lab required
me (thank goodness) to process every piece of tissue and do every stain
manually.  We did not have automated stainers back then so I learned every

So for those who think I am picking on them for OJT training it is not that
I disapprove.  I believe histology is too important not to be considered
professional field that requires consistent training and education.  Many of
us old timers have fought hard for the education clause so we would have
people who were licensed and fully trained.  I did get my BS and more
education so I did get more on my own.

Pamela A Marcum
University of Pennsylvania 
School of Veterinary Medicine
Comparative Orthopedic Laboratory (CORL)
382 W Street Rd
Kennett Square PA 19438

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Martin, Gary
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 12:27 PM
To: Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: RE: [Histonet] uncertified techs in Histology

I am one of those "unregistered" techs.  I would respectfully hope that
we are not considered the villains here.  My situation is; we are a
small lab in a rural area that has the need for 1 1/2 Histo Techs. We
were having a very difficult time attracting a 1/2 time "qualified
tech.", and had zero backup for our one and only full time "qualified
tech." I have a good back ground in detail work in the art world and a
good amount of experience as a pathology lab assistant. So it was easy
for me to transition into the role of "unregistered tech", thereby
providing back for our over work Histo tech.  I have been trained by my
Histo tech and have completed the Freida L. Carson self instruction
course under her supervision.  We are happy with the results and our
Pathologist are pleased.  At this point (7 years into teching) there are
some things that I have been innovative on some things, and our tech
prefers me to do other things. I would love to get certified but the
changes in OTJ have made that more of a mountain than I can climb at
this time. I would like to lend voice to us who are in this situation
and say the we take our duties very serious and I really don't look at
my job as getting over on rules or quality or providing cheap labor. In
our case it has been necessity. 
Thank you 

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Watson,
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 8:34 AM
To: Mary Abosso; Steven Coakley; Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: RE: [Histonet] uncertified techs in Histology

I totally agree with Mary. I have often heard that histotechs are a
dying breed. That us "old timers" are not being replaced by the younger
generation. If we want to have less uncertified histotechs then lets not
make it so difficult for individuals to pursue this wonderful career. I
still think it is very important for the exam to remain in place but
those individuals out of high school that are maybe not thinking of
attending college to obtain a bachelors degree should have the
opportunity to become a certified histologist. I know that you can still
obtain the HT but not the HTL. Correct me if I am wrong.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-
>bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Mary Abosso
>Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 11:19 AM
>To: Steven Coakley; Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
>Subject: RE: [Histonet] uncertified techs in Histology
>Many areas have to go to unregistered techs out of necessity due to the
>high vacancy rate in our field since the ASCP made changes to the
>path for the HT board requirements.  Many of these facilities have
>either formal or informal training and have turned out many very good,
>high quality techs.  Yes, some may be skilled at the "art" of
>but lack the understanding that is behind the science.  These often can
>embed, cut and do special stains with superior quality and happy
>pathologists.  I have seen registered techs that have all the
>intelligence that their sheepskins say, but totally lack the hands on
>skills needed to produce superior quality material for patient
>diagnosis.  While this is only my opinion, I wish that there was still
>the route for OJT as long as there is a certified tech in place for
>My two cents worth,
>Mary Abosso
>From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu on behalf of Steven
>Sent: Wed 2/11/2009 7:55 AM
>To: Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
>Subject: [Histonet] uncertified techs in Histology
>Any thoughts or experiences with my fellow HT/HTL's(ASCP).  What the
>advantage do all these facilities think there gaining by going with
>unregistered techs, especially when theres always ongoing quality
>when theres so many trained certified HT looking for work?  In my area
>of the country I can't believe how many Hospitals go this way.
>Histonet mailing list
>Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
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