How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Histotechnician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $41,420
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 17.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Histotechnicians are part of a medical laboratory team that prepares human, animal or plant tissue to be reviewed or evaluated by a pathologist.

Recommended Schools

What is a Histotechnician?


As a practicing histotechnician, you will be expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Use software such as Microsoft word and excel to perform routine computer procedures like recording team work log sheets and temperatures.
  • Monitors and maintains various documentation like block files, reports, matches slides and resolves any problems that occur.
  • Use advanced knowledge of surgical laboratory instruments to work accurately and quickly with histology specimens, whether it is embedding, cutting, coverslip or processing.
  • Support the resident pathologist when needed, with autopsies and by carrying out gross descriptions on specific specimens.
  • As advised by the section supervisor or pathologist, you must follow established hospital and departmental policies before doing any histology procedures.

Day In The Life

Histotechnicians are skilled lab professionals that work behind the scenes, spending their days preparing and processing different specimens to diagnose the presence or absence of disease. With this key contribution, you play a vital role in solving crimes, finding unique perspectives on a range of diseases and gaining new insights on products like plant foods.

With the use of established scientific procedures, the role carefully prepares the specimen then runs a number of tests based on what the pathologist requests. For instance, you might be testing a biopsy to confirm the presence of cancerous cells. Being accurate and timely is important in this role as any misstep with histologic slides can lead to incorrect results, which may change the diagnosis of a donor completely.

When a histotechnician receives the sample, he or she takes the first step to prepare it by trimming its dimensions to fit a slide – this requires superior training and skills. When the specimen is measured and prepared, it is further treated to preserve its state, then stained, embedded or sectioned according to specifications. Attention to detail is required to minimise erroneous results. The pathologist then conducts microscopic examination and assessment of the slides.

Work Schedule

You will be working in a standard laboratory setting that is temperature controlled, clean and well-organised. You are expected to work up to 40 hours per week, performing routine tasks.

Growth Of The Job

The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a job growth of 14-15% for lab technicians between the 2014-2024 decade, which is faster than the average for other U.S. occupations. Moreover, the vacancy rate for staff-level histotechnicians was around 8.5%, which means that there is a strong demand for technicians to meet the current requirements.

You can look forward to periodic promotions, eventually becoming a supervisor in charge of other peers. Those interested in advancing their educational qualifications can attain a bachelor of science degree and apply for histotechnologist roles. This would lead to more advanced forms of testing and higher salary potential.

Typical Employers

Career prospects for histotechnicians are promising, especially as histology remains a growing field with the demand far exceeding the supply of skilled lab technicians. They typically work at doctor’s clinics and offices, clinical pathology labs, research labs, government agencies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. You might also work with forensic and veterinary laboratories. Sufficient experience in the field can lead to working in other industries such as education, quality assurance, management and administration.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Histotechnician

If you are considering a career as a histotechnician, you must at least complete high school level science and math courses. There are two major routes to take when pursuing this career choice. The first option is to complete a histotechnician program that is accredited by by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Through such a program, you will build a strong foundation in subject areas like histology, biochemistry, immunology, chemistry and medical ethics. The other alternative is to finish an associate’s degree program that leads to an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, with a focus on histology.

You can distinguish yourself from other competitors in the market by working part-time at a clinical laboratory while completing your coursework. In addition, it is worth noting that some states need histotechnicians to complete a licensure, while others require the hiring laboratory facility to do it on your behalf. The requirements of a licensure include completing an NAACLS-accredited degree program or its equivalent.

Histotechnician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Histotechnician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Histotechnician's can make an average annual salary of $41,420, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $31,350 or $15 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #503 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Histotechnicians

  • 2.3%   Doctorate
  • 6.5%   Masters
  • 44.1%   Bachelors
  • 17.2%   Associates
  • 19%   College
  • 9.5%   High School
  • 1.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Histotechnician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 29,000 jobs for a total of 192,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 17.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #75 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Histotechnicians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 59,500 4,200 4%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 30,300 10,000 10%
Offices of physicians 19,700 4,400 4%

Want To Be a Histotechnician? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →