Health Professions - Histotechnology

Program Description

The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Health Professions - Histotechnology is a comprehensive approach to preparing students to acquire expertise in the field of histology. Histology is a structural science concerned with the demonstration of cellular morphology, chemical composition, and function of normal and abnormal tissue. The responsibilities of the histology technician include preparing all specimens, particularly tissue specimens removed at surgery, for examination. Types of specimens include tiny biopsies, whole organs, and foreign objects removed at surgery (e.g. bullets, glass fragments, coins). The technician prepares specimen blocks using microtomy, does special stains, and performs other activities necessary for the preparation of tissue sections for microscope diagnosis and examination. Histotechnology is a dynamic profession with continual evolution of new procedures and methodology.

The program is offered in partnership with the hospital-based histology technician diploma program at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. The College provides classroom instruction and the hospital-based program provides specialized classroom and clinical experience. Students who declare this major will be considered pre-histotechnology students and should apply to the Conemaugh School of Histotechnology during their second semester as they near completion of the 28 credits of general education courses.

Career Opportunities

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, the graduate has the option of registering and completing the National Registry Examination of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) exam at a participating center. The College does not guarantee results of this registry exam. There are also numerous opportunities for continuing education, professional growth and advancement via state professional societies and the National Society for Histotechnology.

  • Clinical technician in a variety of settings
  • Management
  • Research
  • Education
  • Sales

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the program, the student will be able to:

  1. Exercise principles of safety and practices in a professional manner within ethico-legal dimensions.
  2. Synthesize knowledge and clinical techniques in accessioning, fixation, tissue processing, embedding, routine and special staining, immunochemistry, frozen section procedures, and trouble shooting in histopathology.
  3. Evaluate factors that affect histotechnology processes and make corrections as warranted.
  4. Master expected competencies in an accountable and professional manner as an entry level histotechnician in collaboration with other health team members and complimentary to medicine.

Obtaining the Degree

To earn the Associate of Applied Science degree, students must:

  • Complete required 27¬†general education credits at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
  • Apply to Conemaugh School of Histotechnology and meet admission requirements for the clinical component of the program.
  • Complete 8 credits of chemistry and 27 clinical histotechnology credits.
  • Satisfactorily pass the comprehensive final exam in the histotechnology program.
  • Satisfactorily complete all degree requirements.

Conemaugh School of Histotechnology Information Guide for Advisement

Accreditation Requirements for Admission:

  • Must be a graduate of an approved high school or possess a General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.
  • It is preferred that graduates be ranked in the upper two-thirds of their graduating class, and a minimum grade point average of 2.2 or college course progression of 2.0 GPA.
  • Successfully completed high school or college-level algebra, biology and chemistry with a C grade or greater.

Submission of Application:

Application to Conemaugh School of Histotechnology should be completed in spring semester, or early summer semester, of the first year at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in the required curriculum plan. Application is available at

  • Three references are required: two should be from guidance counselors, science teachers or employers; one personal reference from a non-relative is also required.
  • Histotechnology Program will contact applicant to set up an interview.

Health Requirements:

  • Pre-entrance health exam must be completed within 30 days before the start of the first clinical course.
  • Records must be submitted: Tetanus toxoid, urinalysis or urine dipstick, rubella (qualitative positive or negative) - if non-immune reaction then immunized, rubeola (qualitative positive or negative) - if non-immune reaction then immunized, varicella zoster (qualitative positive or negative) - IGG if there is a negative history or vague about having chickenpox, Hepatitis B surface antigen or Hepatitis B vaccine can be given by the hospital and chest x-ray if clinically indicated or a history of tuberculin skin test that is positive. All records must be submitted 30 days prior to start of clinical courses.
  • Dental exam, with any repair measures documented, completed within 6 months prior to start of clinical courses.
  • Vision exam, with correction, administered within 1 year prior to clinical courses completed by optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Criminal Clearances:

Must be completed and report returned prior to enrollment in clinical courses. Should be initiated 2-3 months prior to enrollment.

  • Federal Cogent Criminal Clearance History and Record Information (Act 34 Clearance).
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 33 Clearance).
  • If an applicant has not been a resident of Pennsylvania for the past two consecutive years, an additional clearance through the Department of Aging is required. This is required by the Older Adults Protective Services Law.
  • Information regarding conviction of prohibitive offenses that result in non-admission or termination of clinical privileges may be obtained upon request from Conemaugh Health System Human Resource Department.

Urine Drug Screen Testing:

Testing is conducted 30 days prior to enrollment in the first clinical course. Testing may only be done by the School's Student Health Nurse, Conemaugh Employee Health Office or Corporate Care Office. The drug screen must be negative.

Applicant must possess a social security number. Applicant cannot have been terminated from the Conemaugh Health System as an employee.

Total credits:

Course Sequencing




Associate of Applied Science