[Histonet] Non-cert. histo classes

Morken, Timothy Timothy.Morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org
Tue Sep 2 12:35:20 CDT 2014


It is not a bad idea. Ideally a person going into the field would have a good formal education in the field. However, 99.9% of the people working in the field did not go through a formal program, but learned on the job. Therefore, a person who was exposed to ANY formal education in paraffin histotechnology (processing, cutting, staining, special stains) would be well ahead- OJT is highly variable in quality as you might guess. A lot of what is learned in biological EM is transferable to paraffin - fixation, processing, even sectioning principles are the same. The difference is really in medium and staining chemicals, and of course, the microscope used. 

There are obviously a lot more jobs in histology than in EM. Biotech does not necessarily require certification and it is not needed as a regulatory requirement of their work (and a combined EM/histotech is more valuable; throw in some DNA/RNA work (ISH, FISH, PCR and you have a supertech!). Hospitals and other medical labs usually do not require certification (like or not!) for entry level (or even higher levels in many cases) but if they want you to have it they will usually have a time period that they require you to get it - "certification eligible" or "certification within one year" or something like that. Many of our histotechs came from the UCSF research labs where they learned a bit of paraffin sectioning and then applied in our lab. All have done well and all have gone on to get certified.

Acquiring certification requires working one year under a board certified pathologist, and taking a test. It takes some study, but that is the route most people take.

The most important part is that certification now requires an AA degree at the minimum with certain levels of biology and chemistry courses. Those at Delta would meet that standard pretty easily if they are in the EM program anyway. 

Tim Morken
Supervisor, Histology, Electron Microscopy and Neuromuscular Special Studies
UC San Francisco Medical Center
San Francisco, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Jon Krupp
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 9:00 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Non-cert. histo classes


I am a regular reader of this list, but from a peripheral setting.

I work in an electron microscopy certificate program. Our students are prepared to do either or both certificates in EM, biological and materials.

During their biological training, students are instructed in thin sectioning, specimen prep., etc. I would like to get ideas about how valuable adding more light microscopy specimen prep, staining, and sectioning might be for these students. Would it be good for them to have these skills and knowledge but not a histotech cert.?

I thought about doing a full cert. program, but am daunted by the requirements to set one up and I don't want to compete with other better established programs near by.

Bottom line is I would like to know if teaching basic histo tech skills, w/o certification, is a viable path. Could students leverage these skills into jobs at non-health care type facilities? Could having these skill help them complete a certificated program if they wanted to take that direction later? 

Your input will be valuable to both me and my students.



Jonathan Krupp
Applied Science, Business & Technology
San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA  95207
jkrupp <@t> deltacollege.edu

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