RE: We need the Associate Degree for HT

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From:"Connolly, Brett" <>
To:"" <>
Date:Fri, 30 Apr 1999 15:31:39 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

I am in full agreement with Barry's and Tim's comments. I am a few years shy
of 20 in this field and was trained on the job in a hospital pathology
laboratory. In most laboratories, the days of just doing the H&E and
following up with special stains are gone. The advent of more complex IHC
methodologies, various in situ hybridization techniques, PCR in situ, etc.
demands new histology personnel entering the laboratory have a much broader
knowledge base of biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and the like than
their predecessors. Who knows what other histo-related technologies will
come forth in the future. 

 Without some sort of educational background beyond examining the
paramecium, dissecting the frog, or memorizing the chemical structure of a
water molecule, these new recruits will be poorly prepared for the job.  So,
in my opinion,  the Associates degree requirement is a good thing and
something that is long overdue. 

Educational requirements will serve these people well. They will understand
more of the theory behind what they do, be able to troubleshoot more
effectively, and perhaps find an unanticipated motivation to explore other
scientific interests. It's not just a piece of paper. A degree requirement
represents our desire to increase the quality standards of those who
represent our field, thereby gaining more support, respect, financial
rewards, and better career opportunities for all. 

We can all be ostriches with our heads in the sand, keeping  the status quo
-or- we can strive to raise the standards and eat the dust of those who
follow in our footsteps.


Brett M. Connolly, Ph.D., HTL
Merck Research Laboratories
Dept. of Human Genetics
P.O. Box 4
Sumneytown Pike & Broad St.
West Point, PA 19486
FAX. 215-652-2075

> ----------
> From: 	Tim Morken
> Sent: 	Friday, April 30, 1999 11:31 AM
> To:
> Subject: 	We need the Associate Degree for HT
> Linda,
> There are some good histotechs out there who have learned a lot more than 
> just how to cut some slides. I'm one of them and have no formal education
> in 
> Histotechnology. Unfortunately, they are the exception. I have worked with
> many histotechs who, even though they passed the HT had no idea of basic 
> biology or chemistry, even at the high school level. The Associates degree
> will simply give people a basic background to build on. I say it is long 
> overdue.
> Having worked with many histo-techs from other countries I can say that
> most 
> Histo lab tech education in the US is at the bottom of the barrel( by that
> I 
> mean those that get strictly on-the-job training, not the accreditied 
> programs, which are excellent for the most part). In most other countries 
> Histotechs are fully trained medical technologists who specialise in 
> Histopathology. In most other countries you must have a two-year degree
> just 
> to work in a lab at all.
> The US is deficient in that the vast majority of histotechs are expected
> to 
> educate themselves. The vast majority of histotechs in the US just "end
> up" 
> in the histology lab for random reasons, are on-the-job trained and get
> only 
> the most cursory training at that. That is unfair to them, as it limits 
> their advancement, and is unfair to patients because it means less than 
> optimally-trained people are doing the work. You can argue all you want 
> about how you "made" it in this profession without any formal education,
> but 
> in the long run a comprehensive education makes a better technologist.
> These days the Histo lab has become the most complicated area of the 
> clinical lab. We are involved with more types of procedures than any other
> area, and we interact with every part other lab. Our personnel should be 
> well trained to meet the challenge.
> Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
> Infectious Disease Pathology
> Centers for Disease Control
> MS-G32
> 1600 Clifton Rd.
> Atlanta, GA 30333
> email:
> FAX:  (404)639-3043
> ----Original Message Follows----
> From:
> To:,
> Subject: Re: Associate Degree for HT
> Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 00:46:20 EDT
> That's absurd.  What makes an Associate Degree so important?  I've been 
> doing
> histology for 20 years without that piece of paper...and a darned good
> job,
> too.
> What makes people think that a 2 year degree, a 4 year degree or even an
> master's degree can make a skilled employee and a solid worker?  We've
> taken
> the ASCP test and have proven ourselves.  That should be good enough.
> Who's
> great idea was it to diminish that by requiring a random number of college
> credits?
> Linda Gephart
> All Saints Hospital
> Fort Worth, TX
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