RE: Histotechs vs Med techs in the good ol'USA
In the US the histotechnology profession has no relation at all to the
medical technology profession. Decades ago the medical technology people
dropped histotechnology from their scope of practice and their school
courses. There are a few (about 35) special schools for histotechnology in
the US, but the vast majority of people learn the craft on-the-job. That is
one reason that med techs think histotechs should always be paid less - they
usually have less formal education, and certainly less specific education.
Med techs are also considered diagnostic practitioners - that is, they send
actual diagnostic results to a clinician and are responsible for those
results. Histotechs, on the otherhand, have no diagnostic duties at all.
They perform tests and the pathologist does the diagnostics. It is because
of that distinction that histotechs have historically been relegated to the
backwaters of the lab. In the past pathologists just wanted people who could
cut sections, do a few special stains and that was it. Anyone would do and
people were literally picked off the street to do the work. Naturally this
wasn't conducive to getting educated people into the histology lab.
Of course in the past 20 years things have changed dramatically and now
hisotechs are doing technical work that is equivlent to anything that med
techs do. There is now a massive shortage of qualified histotechs because of
the old reliance on any warm body to work in the lab. No one in any high
school or college knows anything about histotechnology and so almonst nobody
is going into the profession - except by accident.
Histotechnology is still looked down on by many med techs, primarily because
they have no idea what histotechs are doing these days. The vast majority of
Lab managers are former med techs and are at a loss of what to do with
histology labs - most have no idea what histotechs do - so they just
perpetuate the old sterotypes and you end up with these absurd situatons
where someone feels the need to keep an artificial pay disparity between med
techs and histotechs. It's just ignorance but it still damages our
From: Auld, John [mailto:John.Auld@rfh.nthames.nhs.uk]
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 8:21 AM
To: 'HistoNet Server'
Subject: RE: Daily Digest
Dear all across the pond
Why do Histo techs and med techs need different qualifications, why are they
Here in the UK all pathology disciplines require the same qualifications and
we are all paid on the same scales. However there has just been a new grade
(Mega bucks) created only for Cytology at this time but other disciplines
may get it eventually, hopefully.
Just curious, hope you all have a good weekend
John Auld FIBMS MSc
Biomedical Scientist 3
Department of Histopathology
Royal Free Hospital
London NW3 2QG
Tel 020 7794 0500 ext. 6516
> -----Original Message-----
> From: HistoNet Server [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 6:01 AM
> To: HistoNet Server
> Subject: Daily Digest
> - -----Original Message-----
> From: Sheila Poellein [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 5:49 PM
> To: 'histonet'
> Subject: histotech/med tech issue
> We are in the processing of looking for another histotech. We are also in
> the process of raising our hourly rate. The question is, as many of you
> have raised your histotech hourly rates has your lab also raised the med
> tech range accordingly to keep the same difference? What is the percent
> difference between your histotechs and med techs? My manager is concerned
> as to what to do with the med tech range as the histotechs move up.
> While we can refer to the latest salary survey in Laboratory Medicine,
> things are changing so quickly with the histotech salary issue that we
> appreciate as current information as possible. For those of you in the
> midwest, if you would also share your actual hourly rate range as well,
> would be helpful.
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