Histotechnology Profession

Cytotechnology Information Photo

What is the profession of Histotechnology?

Histotechnology is another medical laboratory specialty that is important in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The histotechnologist uses scientific knowledge and technical skill to prepare human and animal tissues for microscopic examination by a pathologist. They work quickly with precision and accuracy, often while a surgical team awaits a diagnosis, to perform the necessary and complex procedures to process, embed and then cut tissue sections. These thin sections are mounted on slides and stained for microscopic evaluation by pathologists. Histotechnologists also help select, implement and evaluate new procedures and instruments in the laboratory and perform maintenance on the equipment.

What are the educational requirements?

Preparation for a career in cytotechnology & histotechnology is accomplished by successfully completing an accredited educational program. Students are admitted to the Master of Cytopathology Practice program after they have completed three years of specified academic work at an accredited college or university. The professional program at UTHSC is two years in length and leads to a Master's Degree entitled the Master of Cytopathology Practice (MCP).  A baccalaureate degree is not required for admission to the program.

Personal Qualifications

Since the expertise of the cytotechnologist or histotechnologist is relied upon in assuring high quality patient care, individuals entering these professions should have a high degree of integrity and be willing to assume a great deal of responsibility. They should also have the following attributes:

  • ability to perform work that requires precision and sound judgment
  • manual dexterity
  • dependable
  • attention to detail
  • good vision including color vision

Career Opportunities

The job market changes rapidly in small professions such as cytotechnology & histotechnology and varies depending on location. Currently there is a critical shortage of histotechnologists.  Cytotechnologist shortages vary by location but there are many more jobs available than educated people to fill them. Our program is the only one in the country that prepares individuals for certification in both of these areas. Consequently, our graduates are uniquely qualified for a variety of employment opportunities.

Future long-term employment looks bright. The need is great throughout the country. Anatomic laboratory professionals have an unlimited choice of practice settings. Hospitals, for-profit laboratories, clinics, public health facilities and industry currently have positions available for qualified cytotechnologists & histotechnologistss.

Licensure and Certification

Graduates of the UTHSC Cytotechnology/Histotechnology Program are awarded a Master of Cytopathology Practice Degree and are eligible for both Cytotechnologist (CT) and Histotechnologist (HTL) certification from the Board of Certification (BOC) of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Once certified in either of these areas, graduates are also eligible for certification in Molecular Biology (MB)  from the BOC of the ASCP. Specialist in Cytotechnology (SCT) certification is also available for persons with advanced degrees and/or additional experience.

Tennessee state license is required to practice cytotechnology in the State of Tennessee. In order to obtain a Tennessee state license, you must provide evidence that you have passed the ASCP Board of Registry examination in cytotechnology. Histotechnologists are not currently required to obtain a Tennessee state license. To obtain more information or an application for state licensure, contact:


Tennessee State Department of Health
Medical Laboratory Board
227 French Landing, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: 1.800.778.4123 or 1.615.532.3202


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Program in Cytotechnology/ Histotechnology

930 Madison - Suite 664
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Phone: 901-448-6304