The new Histology Technician program at Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) is another example of how the College is taking the lead in technical education within Pierce County.
As the only degree program of its kind in Washington State, and one of two programs along the West Coast, the new Histology Technician program is filling a rapidly growing and demanding employment void in the Healthcare profession.
“Histology is currently facing a critical shortage of technicians,” said Anita Ostrander, pathology manager for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “A lot of people do not know what we do, but inside the medical industry, histology is as common a field as nursing.”
A lack of popular knowledge about the profession coupled with thousands of retiring technicians, the industry is looking at a shortage that will take time to replenish.
“You can’t automate Histology,” added Ostrander. “It truly is a type of art form that works within set standards. It takes time to properly train workers to where they can perform the varied tasks associated with the job.”
Ostrander, who developed the CPTC Histology Technician curriculum, says this course more than prepares students to meet the industry’s current requirement level.
“This program is through. It covers all aspects, ranging from basic to advanced work,” Ostrander said. “The public is simply not aware of the career choices Histology can provide. We want to give students a solid foundation and let them choose which direction they want to head.”
Histology Technicians, also commonly referred to Histotechs, use a microscope and other specialized equipment to process, section and stain human and plant tissue for a pathologist to evaluate. They also use specialized tools to slice and prepare tissue to calculate under a microscope.
“Histology is truly a fascinating and varied career. You are always learning something new about the human body each day,” added Ostrander. “It’s important for people interested in this field to have a love of science. Cutting and examining human or animal specimen may not be for everyone.”
Histology Technicians typically work in a hospital or medical lab setting, but have the option of expanding their knowledge and using their skills toward other career options.
“Histotechs can work in any section of the medical industry. They can also apply their skills to other fields such as biotechnology, forensics, research, botany, farming and archeology,” said Ostrander. “They even help scientists perform space related experiments at places like NASA.”
The CPTC Histology Technician program is a year-long course. The first three-quarters are spent applying theory and lecture to hands-on training exercises, while the fourth-quarter is a comprehensive internship where students work directly in the field, honing their skills.
“This program is specifically designed for new students as well as those currently working in the medical industry looking to increase their skill level,” said Lori Banaszak, vice president of instruction at CPTC.
For working adults or busy parents, the Histology Program is offered during the evening. Special financial aid packages are available to assist low-income students pay for college.
“As part of the Washington State Opportunity Grant, the Histology program can provide special funding for students in financial need,” added Banaszak. “As the only college in the state to offer this program, and the only college in Pierce County to receive the Opportunity Grant, we are proud to offer this special option for potential students.”
The salary for Histology Technicians can range, depending on background, proper licensing and prior experience. Typically, Histotechs can make between $20 – $40 per hour, or roughly $40,000 – $80,000 annually.
Fall Quarter registration is open. Enroll today and get on the fast-track to a challenging and rewarding career. For more information about the program, contact Anita Reinhardt, Dean of Health and Human Services, at 253-589-5536 or visit us on the web at www.cptc.edu.