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Histology Technician

Histology Technicians are experienced laboratory professionals who prepare thin sections of human tissue specimens for diagnostic examinations. These professionals prepare, stain and mount specimens on microscopic slides. Histology technicians play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of Veterans.

Knowledge Areas

Histology Technicians need to have a thorough understanding of:
  • Natural sciences (e.g., chemistry and biology)

  • Human tissue types and structures

  • Histology tissue handling (e.g., processing, embedding and microtomy)

  • Slide mounting and staining techniques (e.g., immunohistochemistry)

  • Histology instrumentation (e.g., microtomes and microscopes)

  • Medical sciences (e.g., immunology, pathology and anatomy)

  • Medical terminology

  • Laboratory information systems and electronic health records

  • Laboratory safety (e.g., universal precautions, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and infection control)

  • Regulatory standards and accrediting agency requirements (e.g., The Joint Commission (TJC), College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)) related to laboratory procedures

Training & Developmental Experiences

Grade Range: GS05-GS06

Developmental Experiences
  • Shadow a Medical Technologist

  • Identify basic structures of healthy tissue

  • Work as a surgical technician

  • Create a microscopic slide

  • Identify cellular structures using a microscope

  • View an autopsy

  • Review basic medical terminology

  • Look up customer information in a database

  • Follow safety procedures

  • Interview a laboratory supervisor

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.
Grade Range: GS07-GS07

Developmental Experiences
  • Assist in preparing reagents

  • Discuss tissue abnormalities and diagnoses with pathologists and physicians

  • Section a block of paraffin-embedded tissue to obtain a thin section free of undesirable artifacts (e.g., knife lines and chatter)

  • Stain a tissue specimen with difficult-to-detect structures

  • Perform maintenance procedures on instrumentation

  • Assist with grossing a surgical specimen

  • Review and implement current research and best practices

  • Research a patient's clinical history for information pertinent to surgical biopsy

  • Conduct inventory of material safety data sheet (MSDS)

  • Review a College of American Pathologist (CAP) checklist

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.
Grade Range: GS08-GS08

Developmental Experiences
  • Provide a stretch assignment to an employee to leverage and improve their skills

  • Recognize and reward team efforts and individual accomplishments

  • Help others to plan, organize and prioritize workloads to ensure timely high quality deliverables

  • Articulate VA’s mission externally to advocate for Veterans

  • Assist employees on setting realistic goals based on their strengths and areas for growth

  • Update stakeholders on changes that may affect them

  • Identify new internal colleagues to partner with to achieve organizational goals

  • Develop a relationship with a peer outside of the work unit

  • Facilitate a discussion where others can share their differences of opinion

  • Identify novel ways of performing work that increases efficiency

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.

Additional Information

This job has positions which range from GS05 to GS08.

As part of the duties that may be performed in this job, an employee:
  • Prepares (i.e., processes, embeds and sections) and stains tissue specimen slides

  • Adheres to operating procedures and criteria for handling and processing specimens

  • Performs routine and specialized procedures on specimen slides prior to final pathology diagnosis

Current Job Openings

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Job Summary Location
Histopathology Technician Baltimore
Histopathology Technician Palo Alto
Histopathology Technician Temple

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Education and Licensure

  • High school diploma

Job announcements may contain more specific requirements

Work Interests

Work Interests refer to the types of work activities that interest you, such as interacting with people, thinking of new ideas, or working with your hands. The chart below shows the Work Interest Profile for this job.
Realistic: High; Investigative: High; Artistic: Med; Social: Med; Enterprising: Low; Conventional: Med

Work Environment

Work Environment refers to the setting in which you like to work, such as inside or outside, in a competitive or supportive environment, or in an environment with a little or a lot of time pressure. The chart below shows the Work Environment Profile for this job.
Responsibility: High; Exposure to Job Hazards: Med; Physical Activity: Low; Decision Making: Med; Repetitiveness: High; Level of Competition: Med; Time Pressure: High

Click here for a complete list of terms and definitions.

Please see the My Career Fit Tool to learn about your Work Interests and Work Environment preferences.

Professional Associations

Membership in professional organizations can be useful in maintaining an awareness of developments in the field. These organizations are examples of associations aligned with this position:
My Career Toolkit :