Fixation on Histology

Histology Workforce Development: Educating Histotechs


I shared in my previous post that histotechnology shortages have reached critical status and believe the published data are lagging indicators. For the techs reading this blog post, we are stating the obvious. We initially looked at the macro trends driving employment shortages throughout the United States, including demographics and a pandemic that is quickly approaching its third year. 

NSH leadership has been reviewing as much histotechnician and histotechnology data as we can gather. A fundamental question is do we have enough seats in the NAACLS HT(ASCP), and HTL(ASCP) approved programs to fill immediate and future workforce needs. We believe that answer is a resounding no. When reviewing the number of graduates from 2003 to 2020, we see that we peaked in 2012. After talking with educators, we believe the drop between 2019 and 2020 is pandemic related due to students’ inability to access their clinical rounds.

HT & HTL Graduates

The number of NAACLS HT and HTL programs has also declined. Recruiting histotechnicians or histotechnologists to teach at the programs is proving challenging as well. For those histotechs looking to transition to teaching, our NSH Educators Series is designed for NAACLS accredited HT/HTL program directors and supervisors who train employees and teach in classroom settings. The three-webinar series is an excellent introduction to teaching.

HT HTL Programs


Our bottom-line challenges to overcome in educating our future workforce are:

  • Students’ access to clinical training is a bottleneck.
  • There are not enough qualified techs to fill current vacancies.
  • Leading to limited or no capacity to take on students.
  • There are not enough students graduating to fill the current vacancies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts higher than average employment growth for Conical Laboratory technologists and Technicians. Labs will need to make capacity to take on students to fill vacancies.

BLS Growth

 Written by:  Sharon H. Kneebone, FASAE, CAE

1 comment



11-30-2021 21:50

It's very interesting information through this forum. We seniors ASCP HTL professionals may contribute our capability from outside, as USA is a mother of the certification!!