RE: [Histonet] HTL certification
In the HT/HTL Examination Content Guideline, sent to all applicants and
available on the ASCP webpage, it does state the competency differences
between a technician and a technologist, and then has an outline, with the
"HTL only" marked with " * ".
So, looking at the ASCP HT/HTL competencies lists, the HTL candidate is
responsible for everything the HT will be tested on, PLUS (and I'm listing
- more problem-solving and troubleshooting
- causes of discrepancies of tests
- abnormal test results due to pathological states
- understandes and enforces safety regulations
- specialized tests
- investigates and implementes new procedures/equipment
- develops lab manuals, reports, guidelines, research protocol
- provides instruction in theory, technical skills, safety protocols
- provides continuing education
- evaluate effectiveness of education programs
- management theory, economic impact, management functions
- establish technical and administrative procedures, QC, QA, safety and
waste management procedures, information management, cost effective measurs,
These are some of the additional areas that the HTL exam can test the HTL
candidate on (compared to the HT candidate).
When we look at the HT/HTL content outline, the "*" that the HTL are tested
on (but not HT) also include:
- pathology related to fixation and staining
- chemistry/biochemistry of fixation, processing, staining
- glycol methacrylate sectioning
- enzyme staining
- IHC staining
- refractive index of mounting procedures
- management theories and procedures
- education theory and procedures
- regulations (federal government and accrediting agencies)
The Reading List from ASCP indicates the following additional books for HTL:
- Bancroft and Gamble
- two books on management
So, yes, HTL exam IS harder than HT - enzymes, plastics, IHC, management,
education, lot more problem solving and troubleshooting.
Yes, more studying is needed. More books are needed.
NSH does have a more complete outline of what needs to be studied. It's free
to NSH members - not available to non-NSH members. It's based on the ASCP
outline, but instead of 2 pages, it's about 12.
There are also several self-assessment booklet available through NSH, that
would be helpful for HTL candidates:
- Laboratory Safety (#14)
- Laboratory Operations (# 11)
- IHC, enzyme histochemistry, flow cytometer, ISH, EM (#5)
So, yes, all these things are on the HTL exam.
Experience requirement to take the HTL exam requires one year full-time
experience in the following areas:
- Routine and Special Staining
This experience could be in only histology, only IHC, only EM, or any
combination. It could be human or animal or plant. It could be clinical or
veterinary or research. It could be hard tissue or soft tissue. It could be
brain only. It could be FS only. ASCP does no specify WHERE the experience
is, or which type of tissue or which type of embedding media or which
stains. Just that it must include all four areas.
However, the written and practical exams will cover all the areas that were
mentioned in the outline and competencies. (For example, the 2006 HTL
practical exam includes a pan-cytokeratin on a cervix (to include endo- and
So your HTL candidates DO need to know IHC, enzymes, management, etc., even
if they are not doing it in their lab.
The same as someone working in, say, a derm lab, who even though in their
lab they work with just skins and only do 4 special stains - they must be
able to identify all tissues and know the theory of all the stains, even if
they don't do it in their lab. Passing the ASCP HT and HTL exams indicates a
level of knowledge/competency to be able to go work in ANY lab in the
country, NOT just the lab that the candidate is currently working at.
Hope that helps your candidates. Good luck to them.
Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
Schools of HT and HTL
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Hermina
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2006 12:23 PM
Subject: [Histonet] HTL certification
Two of my techs will be taking the HTL certification this year. I checked
the requirements on the ASCP Board of Registry home page and found that they
needed experience in the following areas: fixation, processing, microtomy,
and routine as well as special staining. I just wanted to double check with
those of you who have recently taken their Board Certifications that EM and
ISH experience are no longer required.
When I did my HTL certification there still were questions pertaining to
both topics, and I just want to make sure they won't be faced with questions
they are not trained in. Any response would be greatly appreciated and I
thank you in advance.
Hermina M. Borgerink, BA, HT(ASCP)HTL, QIHC Wake Forest University Health
Sciences Department of Pathology Medical Center Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27157
Tel. (336) 716-1538
Fax. (336) 716-1515
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