Becoming a Histologist: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
A histologist is a professional who studies the microscopic structure of tissue. To become a histologist, a student must earn a bachelor's degree that includes a one-year clinical internship or complete a multi-year training program in a histopathology laboratory. They also must pass a national examination.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Histologist

A histologist plays an important role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Learn more about the pros and cons of becoming a histologist to see if it's the right career for you.

Pros of Being a Histologist
High median annual salary of $60,500*
Rapid job growth of 16% from 2014-2024**

Cons of Being a Histologist
One to five years of previous experience may be required*
Requires up to four years of training*

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Histologists search for parasites, bacteria and other microorganisms. A histologist must be able to match blood for transfusion purposes and be able to test drug levels in the blood that shows how a patient may be responding to treatment. Computers, automated equipment and other sophisticated laboratory equipment are used to analyze tissue.

Salary Info and Career Growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, the demand for medical and clinical laboratory technicians and technologists, including histologists, will grow about 16% between 2014 and 2024. As Baby Boomers age, the need for more diagnostic lab procedures will increase. Additionally, more people than ever have health insurance, leading to more work in these fields, according to the BLS.

In the U.S., PayScale.com states that the median yearly salary for histologists was $60,500 in 2016. The highest wage earners enjoyed salaries of more than $95,000. Histologic technicians earned $46,939 and histotechnologists earned $51,652 in 2016.

What Are the Requirements?

Normally, to qualify for an entry-level position as a histologist, an applicant will need to have a bachelor's degree with a major in medical technology or one of the life sciences. Bachelor's degrees in this field will usually include courses in chemistry, microbiology, statistics and biological sciences, as well as specialized courses devoted to skills used in the clinical laboratory. However, it is possible to fill some positions while having a combination of on-the-job training and formal education.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Based on November 2015 job offers, the following careers are available for histologists:

  • A medical center in Houston is looking for a histology technician to aid cell pathology. Applicants need to be certified with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. The medical center requires applicants to have at least three years of directly related experience.
  • A clinic in Minnesota is searching for a histology technologist to join their laboratory. Certification through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists is required for this position. A bachelor's degree and several years of experience in a histology laboratory are preferred.

How to Stand Out

Many employers prefer applicants to have certification from recognized professional associations, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the American Medical Technologist or the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel. These groups have different requirements for certification.

Other Career Paths

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians work in labs and research areas, just as histologists do. They are typically responsible for setting up and maintaining laboratory instruments and handling biological samples. Most biological technicians complete a bachelor's degree before pursuing their career. According to the BLS, they earn an average salary of $39,750 per year as of 2012.

Chemical Technicians

With an associate's degree, it is possible to begin a career as a chemical technician. Chemical technicians assist chemists as they work with chemical products and processes. They may work with medications or production processes. The BLS reports that chemical technicians earned an average annual salary of $42,920 in 2012.

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Kaplan University

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Regent University

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