Re:job training: US vs Germany

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From:Tim Morken <> (by way of histonet)
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2000 22:47:12 -0500
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Most histotechs in the U.S. are OJT too; I was. It is pointless to argue
whether college or OJT is better; they are meant for different things.
College is not meant to give one OJT skills; rather it is meant to give one
a broad-based education on which to build in the future. It would be very
unusual to use the majority of what one learns in college in a given job,
but one has the ability to operate in more situations than someone who does
not have that background. OJT is meant to teach one what to do in a very
specific situation. When one combines both one will have the best of both

I worked with many college-educated people who had had no courses in anatomy
or physiology and I had to teach them those basics. I worked with others who
had not even finished high school but they taught me the basics of histology
techniques. I found, however, that when a person had a good science
background they were better able to understand what they were doing and were
able to go further in learning more complex techniques.

I don't think there will many more (if any) histology programs opened simply
because it takes a huge amount of work to set up a program, get it
accredited and keep it going. Histology people are still a very small
percentage of total lab workers and the demand in many geographical areas is
not enough to justify a program. There are a lot of jobs out there but most
people interested in one would have to move to take advantage of it. This is
why distance learning programs such as the one offered by Indiana State
should be a good thing; people in any geographical area can take the courses
and apply it to their job.

So OJT is always going to be the most common method of training for
histologists. About all we can hope for is that lab directors and
pathologists recognize the need for well trained people (and they do seem to
from recent job ads). What I don't want to see is people coming in at the
bottom, go through OJT and get stuck in a dead end situation. If someone
starts out in an entry level position they need to be told of the
possibilities in the field, the need for more education to advance
themselves and the opportunity to get that education.

Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333


Phone: (404) 639-3964
FAX:  (404)639-3043

----Original Message Follows----
From: Joachim Siegmund <>
To: atbrooks <>, histonet <>
Subject: AW: job training ...last resort
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 19:51:14 +0000

Hi everybody,

mayby I shouldn't say something to this topic,
because I am working in Germany and trained in Germany ..
.on the job... and it seems to be more a american special.
But I find this discussion very interesting, because in Germany
every "Histotech" is a OJT one! We have no regular education-path
for this work.
So, my point is,that it depends from the individuum, how much
background you'll find in a Histotech and how good/bad someone is doing his
job. Having a good education is a good thing,
but how much of the stuff you learned at college or whereever,
do you use after 10 years or more in your job?
Maybe 40% of what you learned? The rest is new knowledge, that
you got in your job ( learning by doing, further training, reading ).

Hope I do not upset someone,

Joachim Siegmund/BTA

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