Educational Requirements

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From:"Barnhart, Tammy" <>
To:"" <>
Date:6 May 1999 11:09:00 -0500

I have been reading, with great interest, the conversations about
educational requirements for the HT certification and felt I needed to put
in my two cents worth.

  This may not be very popular, but here goes.  We all know Histology is
changing.  IHC, FISH, flow cyto and new techniques for processing and
staining are happening at breakneck speed.  The old days of processing,
embedding, cutting and staining only are over.  We still need people who do
these things and do them well (and I believe they cannot be taught, only
learned through experience).  But to trouble shoot and keep current with
even these most fundamental areas, a tech must have at a basic understanding
of the chemistry of processing and staining.  And to be effective in
performing the more complicated areas of Histology, an overall understanding
of biochemistry, cellular biology and physical chemistry is needed.  I don't
believe that just being able to "do" a job is good enough.  You have got to
"understand" the job to be a professional.  A MedTech goes to school for
three years to learn the theory behind the tests and then does one year of
perfoming the test.  Theory is important and this is why MedTechs are
professionals whereas a non degreed HT is not.  If Histology is to ever be
considered a true profession than the educational requirements must be
upgraded and I for one wish to thank the NSH for their work in getting the
increased educational requirements added to the BOR qualifications.  The
opportunity to earn a degree is out there for everyone, it just depends on
how bad you want it.

 The Hospital and group I work for have very strict guidelines about job
classifications and pay scales.  To be classified as a "professional"
employee, you must have a degree and appropriate certification/registration,
ect.  Period.  No exceptions.  HTs are now classified as "Technical"
employees.  They may not be salaried, therefore, cannot be in a supervisory
position.  HTLs who are grandfathered may not supervise, they lack the
degree. HTLs with degrees (very rare) can supervise and are considered
professionals.  I know this does not seem fair, but it's the way things are
and we won't be changing it soon.  Anyway, I'll quit preaching and apologize
to all I have offended.  Be nice.

Tammy Barnhart, BS,HTL(ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
Pathology Consultants/St. Alexius Medical Center
Bismarck, ND

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