Pictured are students and the education coordinator from the first graduating class in December 2013. From left to right: Ariana Miller, Michael Voulgaris, M. Lamar Jones (education coordinator), Paige Waymer, and Dontavius Mobley.
Carolinas College of Health Sciences is one of the few schools in the nation offering healthcare professionals and students the opportunity to be part of a specialty of growing need and interest – histotechnology.
The College, in partnership with the Carolinas Laboratory Network, recently began offering one of only seven histotechnologist level programs in the United States and the only one in North Carolina. It is a full-time, 12-month post-baccalaureate certificate program that enrolls four students per year. In December 2013, the College graduated its first class from the program.
What is Histotechnology?
Histology is a science dealing with the structure and morphology of cells and the formation of tissues and organs. Histotechnology centers on the detection of tissue abnormalities and the diseases causing these abnormalities. These scientists are allied health professionals that play a fundamental role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Due to a continuing shortage of histotechnologists across the nation, demand for these certified scientists is great.
Histotechnologists prepare and mount human tissue onto slides for microscopic examination. This work helps pathologists more accurately determine tissue abnormalities and a patient’s disease process. Some of the disciplines of the professions are immunohistochemistry assays, fluorescent in-situ hybridization, digital imaging, electron microscopy, critical thinking and troubleshooting technical problems to name a few.
'A Growing Need'
“There is a growing need for histotechnologists nationwide, especially in management and leadership roles, as there are such few programs that train these specialists,” said M. Lamar Jones, histologist and education coordinator at Carolinas College of Health Sciences. “Our program provides students with a well-rounded educational experience by offering high-quality didactic, laboratory and clinical opportunities that produce highly-trained, skilled histotechnologists.”
Carolinas HealthCare System’s Histology department hires histotechnologists to process, embed and cut tissue specimens from several System care locations, including Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), CMC-Mercy, CMC-Pineville, CMC-University and more than 100 physician offices.
Students in the histotechnology program at Carolinas College undergo a year-long program which includes clinical rotations in the laboratory on CMC’s campus. The laboratory processes specimens needing routine and/or advanced pathologic testing, and pathologists from Carolinas Pathology Group provide interpretation in several specialties, including breast, GI, neuropathology and bone and soft tissue. (Learn more about the histology process at Carolinas HealthCare System).
The program is undergoing the process of achieving national accreditation—by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)—which signifies the program meets national education standards and graduates are eligible to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification HTL exam. Carolinas College has already earned the “Serious Applicant Status” from NAACLS.
Application deadline for the histotechnology program is June 1 of each year for classes beginning January of the following year.