RE: BOR exam

From:"Morken, Tim"

M. Sayeed wrote:

There is no requirement from ASCP (the US certification agency)that a
histotech has to graduate from a specialized histotechnology program.
Instead it will simply requires some college (for HT) or a degree (for
HTL)with a certain number of hours of certain subjects (ie, biology, chem,
etc). In fact, two techs I worked with (who did pass the HTL) had degrees in
Environmental Science, and had very little, if any, coursework in
medical-related subjects. On the job (OJT) training is the way people 99
percent of histotechs learn histotechnology in the US and that won't change
at all.

The BOR exam is not all that difficult from a "college education" standpoint
(and is certainly not anywhere near a "PhD" level exam). What makes it
difficult is that you have to know your methods and terminology inside out.
It can be very confusing to someone who doesn't take the time to dissect the
minutia of the field. For instance, I still have the charts I made to
compare and contrast all the different silver stains, connective tissue
stains, micro-organism stains, etc. Many of those stains are not used by all
techs, but they are considered the basics you need to know to present
yourself as qualified to function in ANY histotechnology situation.  Anyone
can learn the methods you do in your own lab just through sheer repetition.
What sets a certification-qualified tech apart from the others is the
knowledge of what is done OUTSIDE your institution. That knowledge leads to
better service within your institution. A "good" tech can be someone who
cuts well, or someone who researches and develops new procedures well, or
someone who simlply won't give up until something works right. I don't
discount one over the other but each has an opportunity to apply their best
skill in the appropriate circumstances. I have met only two techs who I
considered excellent at all the skills used in histotechnology.

People can still be hired at an entry level (no experience and no eduction)
and work without being certified, so that is no obstacle. If they want to be
certified, however, they will have to learn their craft, something I don't
think is too much to ask.

Tim Morken

-----Original Message-----
From: Mohammed, Sayeed []
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 2:02 PM
To: ''
Subject: BOR exam

This is in regards to some one's concern about shortage of histotechs and
Ascp BOR exam being very difficult. Well, there is one histotech I know in
Houston Medical Center, who is cosidered to be one of the best techs. She is
an excellent cutter, Special stains, and Immunohistochemistry etct.
But, she has failed the BOR exam twice. There are other techs that have
passed the exam with flying colors and are not any where near as good techs
as this person is. In my openion, The Ascp histo tech registry exam should
be desinged to evaluate histology skills of the person not test them at a
Phd level or try to test their IQ. College education requirement is fine,
but, taking out OJT is a bad idea. There are not enough histo tech schools
to keep up with the market demand. We have been trying to find a histotech
for at least two months without luck. Any opinions on this. Thanks.

M. Sayeed
Dept. of  Spore Pathology
Baylor college of Medicine
Houston TX. 77030

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