Fixation on Histology

Why NSH Created the Histology Training Program

The workforce is currently grappling with a concerning shortage of histotechnologists, a situation that is generating significant strain on existing staff members (read more about the shortage). This scarcity has led companies to hire recent science graduates with four-year degrees, but no histology certification, and subsequently provide histology training on the job.  In some instances, labs have resorted to hiring for tasked based work. For example, hiring someone without much science or lab experience, just to cut.  Is this an ideal situation? No, it's not.  But it is a reality, presenting the challenge of ensuring new staff have the foundational knowledge to perform the work to the best of their ability. After all, if someone is hired to cut and does not have any histotechnology knowledge how will they know if a block is even properly embedded? Understanding the upstream and downstream of the histology process is pivotal for success, and that is why NSH created the Histology Training Program. 

Our goal in creating this program is to provide laboratories and lab managers with a resource to train new staff that lack this foundation, and ultimately, we hope that the staff will find a passion for histotechnology and start a career in the field. 

What is the Histology Training Program?

The NSH Histology Training Program is an online blended learning program. Blended learning involves traditional didactic video learning, but also incorporates graded assignments and discussions – all monitored by a subject matter expert that provides support when requested on program topics, or even on real issues facing the histotech in their lab. The majority of the training is self-paced, but it also requires participants to attend two live sessions. The live sessions vary from open Q/A with the preceptor to topics like H&E artifacts.  We want participants to engage with each other so that they can build their own professional networks and hopefully continue on the career path in the field. In fact, the final module provides a variety of career pathway interviews to help participants see the career options open to them has histotechs.

The Histology Training Program was created by subject matter experts, beginning with the curriculum design team, followed by a curriculum review team for edits, and finally the course faculty.  Each team has representation from different histotechnology practice areas to ensure that the topics covered are meaningful and helpful.  The program also incorporates research-based learning strategies to maximize learner retention. After all, if someone doesn’t remember what they learned, what good is it in the lab? 

The National Society for Histotechnology does not support “on the job training” in lieu of post‐secondary education and ASCP Certification.  However, NSH does recognize the need for non‐traditional educational pathways due to the need to supplement the workforce during this time of critical workforce shortages. The Histology Training Program provides foundational education as a step on one of those nontraditional educational pathways. The Histology Training Program is not a route to ASCP certification; however, our goal is to help to fill the pipeline of working histotechs that will become future certified techs. 

You can learn more about the program and see the full program outline from our website.  You can also signup for a free Demo Version.

Written By:
Connie Wildeman, MPA, Education Director, NSH





12-12-2023 11:33

I've reached out to NSH about this, but I am apprehensive to make such a large purchase based on past purchases. While the prep course material is adequate, the quality of audio and video is far less than I would expect from the leading resource for histology techs. I did get a response with assurance this course is much higher quality. :)

12-10-2023 08:46

NSH's Histology Training Program has been very helpful for me with building on my current knowledge of histology.  I have really enjoyed the live sessions & am excited for upcoming discussions.  Thank you NSH for making this program available & virtual.  

11-17-2023 12:52

Hello Connie Wilderman,

I would like to express my gratitude for the innovative approach taken to assemble the task force. Histotechnique is a discipline that combines both art and science, demanding dedicated study, comprehension, and a genuine interest in the field. Furthermore, discipline is a crucial attribute for anyone aspiring to become a histology laboratory professional.

In case it proves useful, we offer training programs for histology laboratory professionals and provide guidance for their certification through ASCP BOC (HT/HTL). Several of our trainees have already obtained their certifications and are currently employed here. Should any job opportunities arise, they are eager to apply and work in the USA.