The study of the microscopic structure of tissues

High School Preparation

A high school diploma or GED will be reqired for careers in histology.  The minimum suggested high shcool curriculum includes

  • Mathematics through algebra
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • English composition

Education Required

In the histology laboratory, there are 2 levels of professionals: histotechnicians and histotechnologists


As of 2005, a high school education plus work experience is no longer a route to being a histotechnician.  However, 2 routes remain.

  1. Completion of an accredited educational program which may be part of an associate degree program or a separate certificate program.
  2. Current associates degree and gain acceptable work experience

The curriculum of an accredited program will include basic courses in college mathematics through algebra, chemistry and biology with professional courses in:

  • Solution preparations and chemistry
  • Tissue processing/preservation
  • Microscope slide preparation
  • Specialized staining procedures
  • Gross and microscopic anatomy
  • Basic computer skills


Histotechnologists must earn a bachelor's degree and complete an accredited education program.  The accredited program may be included in the bachelor's degree requirements or may be a certificate program following college graduation. Preparation for an accredited program should include

  • college matheatics through algebra
  • chemistry including inorganic and organic
  • general biology
  • English compostion
  • basic computer skills

Additional recommended courses would include biochemistry, statistics, cell biology, anatomy, physiology and molecular biology.

The curriculum of the professional phase of course work, either within the bachelors' degree or during the certificate program will include advanced study of the same topics that histotechnicians study = stains and staining , sectioning and tissue handling etc.

To support the roles of histotechnologists as supervisors and managers in laboratories, histotechnology curriculum will also include:

  • Laboratory management - including financial management of the laboratory; hiring and training of personnel; quality assurance activities; regulations affecting laboratories
  • Training and education - including how to teach laboratry skills to students and employess, how to administer education programs in laboratory science.

Certification/Career Ladder

Histotechnicians and technologists who have completed accredited educational programs or acceptable experience are eligible for national certification examinations.  These national certification exams allow histology professionals to demonstrate their knowledge of histological procedures and techniques.  Employers prefer to hire certified individuals.

histotechnicians can advance their certification to the histotechnologist level with work experience and completion of a bachelors' degree, thus qualifying them to take the histotechnologist examination.  This increases the job opportunities open to individuals.

Some states will require licensing of histology professionals.