What is Histotechnology?

Histotechnology is the dynamic and evolving art and science of applying chemicals and dyes to thin sections of tissue so that particular components of that sample can be demonstrated microscopically.  A proper diagnosis of a disease state begins with excellent histology practices.  Histology labs encompass all fields of laboratory science.  Chemistry or histochemistry of tissue, invasion of tissue structures by microorganisms and hematologic disorders in bone marrow biopsies and smears are all demonstrated by good histology techniques.  Workflow in the histology lab includes:

  • Fixation - preparation for maintaining existing form and structure of specimens
  • Tissue processing - bringing samples from a fixed state to support media so that thin sections can be obtained
  • Embedding - insures stability for microtomy and orientation of tissue for proper diagnosis view
  • Microtomy - cutting a section thin enough to be viewed under the microscope

What is a Histotechnician?

A Histotechnician is an individual who is trained in the preparation and staining of tissue slides for microscopic examination and disease diagnosis by the pathologist. A Histotechnician must be certified to practice. Some states require Histotechnicians to have an Associate’s Degree along with certification.

Histotechnicians work in a wide array of areas, such as operating rooms, clinics, doctors' offices, research, veterinary pathology, marine biology, forensic pathology, and the pharmaceutical industry. Histotechnicians must be able to discriminate between closely similar items and correction of errors by use of pre-set strategies. They are required to know specific techniques and instruments, and be able to recognize factors which directly affect procedures and results. The technician monitors quality control programs within predetermined parameters.

What is a Histotechnologist?

Histotechnologists have academic training at the Baccalaureate level, while technicians typically hold an Associate’s degree or certification. A histotechnologist performs more complex techniques such as enzyme histochemistry, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. A histotechnologist is also qualified to teach, be a supervisor in a laboratory or the director for a school of Histotechnology.

What is the admission process?

For admission, students need a high school diploma (or equivalent), completion of required prerequisite courses, access to a qualified training laboratory, and completion of all application requirements. Laboratory training sites are located nationwide and change based on the student and/or laboratories need. Students typically are employed at the training site. However, the training site may take non-employed students. A limited number of clinical sites for the program are located within the Indianapolis area for local non-employed students.

What are the prerequisites for this program?

Before admission into the program students must complete the “required” prerequisites listed below. Prerequisites must be taken at a regionally accredited college or university with verification of grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.00 scale (C). Courses must be completed by July 1st. 

Required Courses:

Chemistry, 3 credits

Biology, 3 credits

College Mathematics (Algebra or higher), 3 credits

Should I send in the application even if my prerequisites aren’t complete?

Yes, you can submit the application packet prior to having the prerequisites complete. However, you must complete the prerequisite completion plan form included in the application packet. All prerequisites must be completed before you register for courses in August.

What are the tuition costs for the Histotechnology Certification Program?

Everyone pays a flat rate equivalent to in-state tuition regardless of residency. Please go to the following link for more information regarding tuition.

What are the book fees?

We require students to use the book, Histotechnology: A Self-Instructional Text (3rd Edition) Authors: Freida L. Carson; Christa Hladik

1.png It’s available at the marketplace for Members $119 or non-members $159. All other materials will be supplied to you free.

Can I apply for financial aid?

Students who are enrolled in the Certificate in Histotechnology Program are eligible to apply for student financial assistance, as noted on the IUPUI Office of Student Financial Aid Services website.   General information about applying for financial aid on the IUPUI campus can be found at the following link:  To be eligible for aid, each student must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), see for additional details on that process.   Residents of the State of Indiana are encouraged to apply by March 1st to determine eligibility of any state awards; all other students can apply after that date and will be considered for the Federal Pell and Federal Direct Loans programs.  

For the upcoming class, please make sure to complete the 2014-2014 FAFSA.   Students who are offered admission to the program will be administratively enrolled in classes.  It will not be until after they are enrolled that the IUPUI Office of Student Financial Aid Services will finalize each student’s individual aid eligibility.  After offers of admissions are sent, if you have been admitted and want to enroll as soon as possible to get your financial aid package progressing, please call the IU School of Medicine Health Professions Programs Administrative Office at (317) 278-4752 and ask for Dr. Reeser.  You can also reach that office at 

When can I begin this program?

The certification program has a dual start. Students may begin the program in the fall or spring semester.

What is the length of the program?

The program length is ten months of professional course work. The course study consists of eight courses (24 credit hours), including four didactic courses and four practicum courses.

How much time can I expect to spend each week on this program?

A student can expect to spend an average of 20 hours a week on both didactic and practicum related assignments. Some students will complete assignments in less time.

How do I complete the clinical work?

Students will complete clinical coursework in the laboratory where they work. This also requires a certified HT to serve as the clinical educational mentor for the student. The mentor will review work and assignments. Once an assignment is complete, students will mail them to the online instructor for grading.

How do I find a lab to complete my practicum hours?

You must seek employment in or have access to a lab prior to submitting an application. (Local students call for limited placement). Call local Histology supervisors and tell them your goals. See if they will assist you in your training. Or get hired as a lab assistant in the histology lab.

What are the responsibilities of my Clinical Education Supervisor?

Following the Program's curriculum, and in collaboration with the Program Director, the Clinical Education Supervisor (CES) has the following responsibilities:

1.  Serves as the liaison between the student and the Program. 

2.  Follows the Program curriculum and standards in the student's technical training.

3.  Completes the required forms and evaluation tools and returns by due dates.

4.  Coordinates the teleconference time and location for the student.

5.  Proctors the exams.

6.  Identifies additional training sites for phases of experience not available on-site, and

     ensures student attendance for that additional training.

7.  Assists and encourages the student in accomplishment of training and academic goals.

8.  Encourages the student to be an active member of local, state, and national professional 

     histology societies.

9.  Provides information and access to the laboratory as required for Program accreditation.

Can I enroll in the program if I work full-time?

Yes. The program was designed for the fulltime employed histotech.

Are there any scholarships or payment programs available?

Yes, residents of the State of Indiana are encouraged to apply by March 1st to determine eligibility of any state awards; all other students can apply after that date and will be considered for the Federal Pell and Federal Direct Loans programs. Additionally, there are opportunities from SH and ASCP for $500 and $1,000 scholarships. However, you need to apply for and be awarded these. Since we are on a semester schedule you employer may have annual tuition assistance. You would qualify for 2014 and for the 2015 year. You would need to ask them if they offer tuition assistance.

Are transcripts required?

Yes, transcripts need to be submitted with the application.

What is the class size?

Enrollment in the certificate program is not limited; therefore, most qualified applicants are admitted. In the event, however, that enrollment exceeds program resources, applicants who are residents of Indiana are given preference for admission before out-of-state applicants.

Affiliate sites may accommodate more than one student, depending on the laboratory's capacity for training, or the training facility may accommodate students from additional local sites for web-conferences. Average class size is 54 students.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the fall semester is May 31st. The application deadline for spring semester is October 15th.

Applicants will be notified of admission decisions by June 12 for fall semester and early November for spring semester.

What are the medical/immunization requirements to enter the program?

All entering students must meet established health requirements. Before beginning the professional program, students are required to demonstrate proof of immunization for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, rubella (German measles), rubeola (measles), mumps, varicella (chicken pox), and hepatitis B. All students must have a PPD tuberculin skin test within the last three months. In some instances proof of positive titer can be substituted. Students may be required to complete a physical examination. Full details for entering students can be found at Additional immunizations may be required at certain clinical sites. Students assigned to those sites must complete additional requirements prior to starting that clinical rotation.

How do I obtain my actual certification in Histotechnology?

You must first enroll in a NAACLS approved program. Next, you must pass the 10-month curriculum offered by the program. Once you have successfully completed the NAACLS approved professional program, you are qualified to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification examination.  Indiana University is an approved NAACLS program.

How is the curriculum structured for the certification program?

During the fall semester, the students enroll in four courses.  They include two didactic (theory) courses and two practicum courses.  Each course covers a 9-week interval, with the didactic and practicum courses taken concurrently.  Spring registration follows the same pattern, and each course level builds on the prior one(s), requiring sequential coursework.  Each course awards 3 credits, so that a total of 24 hours academic credit is gained at the completion of the year's course of study.

All didactic courses (H101, H102, H103, H104) are delivered by weekly online recorded lectures. One live web/teleconference is held each week to review and answer any questions the student may have. Related assignments are to be completed by the student with examinations and assignments returned to the Program Director for evaluation.

All practicum courses (H181, H182, H183, H184) are accomplished through technical demonstration and instruction by the Clinical Education Supervisor in the training laboratory. These demonstrations will follow the program’s practical courses’ curriculum.  The written assignments and technical products will returned to the Program Director for evaluation.

What is the difference between Certification and Licensure?

Certification is a less restrictive form of occupational regulation than licensure. A government or private entity such as the ASCP Board of Certification can provide certification. In this case certification is a voluntary process by which the ASCP Board of Certification grants recognition of competency to persons who have satisfied the predetermined qualifications. These qualifications include education, training, experience, and passage of certifying examination. Many health care personal such as Histotechnicians can be certified without being licensed.

Licensure is an occupational regulation by a government agency or private entity. This type of occupational regulation prohibits non-licensed individuals from practicing in their field. Licensures also address maintenance of a licensee’s skill through things such as continuing education. Many occupations such as physicians, nurses, chiropractors, and pharmacists require licensure. Currently only 11 states and one territory require licensure for Histotechnicians. These include: California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. If you plan to practice in one of these states then you will need to get licensed. A Histotechnician practicing in all other states only needs a certification in histotechnology.

Dept. of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Administration Office | Van Nuys Medical Science Building | 635 Barnhill Drive, room A-128 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 Indiana University Health Pathology Laboratory: 350 W. 11th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202