Routes to HT certification
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|Date:||Wed, 5 May 1999 23:01:50 -0700|
I have been reading the discussion about the recently accepted change in
eligibility for the HT examination. I would like to shed some light into
why NSH make this request of the ASCP Board of Registry.
The change only impacts those individuals who are doing on-the-job training
(OJT) with less than 2-years of college. NAACLS accredited programs can
still accept high school graduates; however, the new NAACLS essentials
require a minimum number of high school courses in biology and/or chemistry.
The NSH House of Delegates approved a white paper of recommended educational
standards for the HT in 1988. The document stated "...completed at least
60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of acedemic credit at an accredited
college or university, including coursework in chemistry, biology, and
mathematics..." A request to change the eligibility requirements was not
made at that time because of the high number of individuals that did not
meet that requirement (approximatley 70%).
Over the interervening years, NSH has tried to encourage supervisors who are
doing OJT to hire individuals with 1-2 years of college. This has been
reasonably successful since the number of individuals with only a high
school diploma has been reduced (approximately 40% have only high school).
In addition, the number of NAACLS accredited schools requiring some college
or terminating in an AA degree has increased. There are 10 AA degree
programs plus 1 program changing to a AA degree program, 4 certificate
programs that require an associates degree for entry, and 3 certificate
programs that require some college (approximately 18 hours). About 56%
require either an AA for entry or grant an AA degree.
The number of laboratories that expect their histology technicians to do
some gross description is increasing. CLIA '88 regulations require "...an
associate degree in a laboratory science or medical laboratory technology,
or at least 60 semester hours, or equivalent from an accredited
institution..." If gross description of small specimens is becoming an
expectation of HT's, it doesn't seem ethically correct to continue to
certify individuals who can't apply for an HT job because they can't qualify
to do gross description.
In the "real world" many HTs are doing immunohistochemical procedures.
This is validated by the number of HTs who have taken the Qualification in
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) offered by the ASCP Board of Registry. To fully
understand and trouble shoot this technology it requires more than a high
school diploma. Those of you with only a high school diploma did a lot of
learning on your own, won't it have been easiler with more than a high
The current surge of automation in histotechnology is making trouble
shooting an important skill for histology technicians. This requires a
greater understanding of the theory behind procedures. Learning and
understanding theory is much easier for individuals with more than a high
school diploma to learn.
I think you need to consider this statement made by Freida Carson when she
presented NSH's justification to the Board of Registry. "The HT examination
has been in existence for 51 years. The minimum eligibility requirements
have not changed in those 51 years." The minimum requirements for medical
technologists and cytotechnologists have increased since the inception of
Don't you think it is time that the requirements for histology technicians
change with the times and technology? Do we want technologies that belong
in the histopathology laboratory to be done in the clinical laboratory
because the histology technicians are interested in learning (medical
technologists way of saying they aren't educated enough to learn).
Sorry for the soap box stand. The next issue of NSH-in-Action should answer
some questions regarding the upcoming change the eligibility requirements.
Sumiko Sumida, HT(ASCP)HTL
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