[Histonet] Non-cert. histo classes

Jennifer MacDonald JMacDonald <@t> mtsac.edu
Tue Sep 2 13:14:12 CDT 2014

I agree with Tim.  Any additional skills in histology will make them more 
marketable.  EM and paraffin microtomy are very similar in principle.

As of yet an AA/A is not required to take the HT (ASCP) certification 
exam.  Route 1 states "graduation from a NAACLS accredited program" and 
there are still some NAACLS accredited programs that offer a certificate 
and do not require an AA or AS.  The NSH appealed to NAACLS to change one 
of the Standards to require all NAACLS HT programs to either award an 
AA/AS degree or require students to have one before earning the 
certificate.  The changes to the standard went out for public comment at 
the beginning of the summer.  The NAACLS BOD meeting is September 18-19. 
The Board will vote then to either recommend or not recommend the changes 
to the standard.  If it is approved by the BOD there will be a transition 
period to allow those programs that do not offer or require an AA/AS to 
meet the standard.This does not affect those that are already certified, 
nor does it change the ASCP requirements.


From:   "Morken, Timothy" <Timothy.Morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org>
To:     "'Jon Krupp'" <jkrupp <@t> deltacollege.edu>, 
"histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu" <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>
Date:   09/02/2014 10:38 AM
Subject:        RE: [Histonet] Non-cert. histo classes
Sent by:        histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu


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 

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 

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 

Tim Morken
Supervisor, Histology, Electron Microscopy and Neuromuscular Special 
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 

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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