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Histology Shortage Opens Doors

Histology Shortage Opens Doors

Jennifer LeClaire | Monster Contributing Writer

The ASCP’s “2003 Wage and Vacancy Survey of Medical Laboratories” reports nationwide vacancy rates for certified histotechnologists and histotechnicians at 3.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively, down from the 10.7 percent and 8.7 percent vacancy rates reported in the organization’s 2002 survey. For histotechnologists, vacancy rates were highest in the South Central Atlantic (6.45 percent) and Northeast (6.3 percent) regions of the country, the survey said. For histotechnicians, vacancy rates were highest in the South Central Atlantic (8.8 percent) and Far West (7.6 percent) regions.

Even with the dip in vacancy rates, histology specialists posted average salary gains of approximately 2 percent to 3 percent between 2002 and 2003, according to the study. The median average hourly rate for histotechnologists ranged from $17.25 to $21.79 and from $15.25 to $20 for histotechnicians. Wages vary based on laboratory type, hospital bed size, city size, average test volume and region of the country. Wages were highest in the Northeast for both histotechnicians and histotechnologists.

World of Opportunity

For histology professionals who seek out the education, training and certification, a world of opportunity awaits them. Histology professionals work not only in hospitals, but also in research labs, veterinary medicine labs, pharmaceutical labs and product development companies.

Like all medical professionals, the challenge in histology is too much work and too little time. But histotechnologists say the rewards of helping find a diagnosis outweigh the pressure of knowing that someone’s life may lie in their hands.

Joe Valeo, manager of the pathology department at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, entered the field 27 years ago and is passionate about his role in helping save patients’ lives.

“Histology is much more hands-on than medical technology,” he says. “It is more than taking a tube of blood, sticking it in a machine and waiting for it to spit out the results. Helping determine what is wrong with a patient so that doctors can treat the patient is a fulfilling career.”

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