By: Karen Bordenet
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities face a critical shortage of qualified laboratory personnel, including histotechnicians. With over 20 hospitals just in the greater Baltimore area, Maryland needed an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Histotechnology to alleviate the shortage of histotechnicians and train qualified personnel. Johns Hopkins Hospital was proactive in initiating a Histotechnology degree program which is the only one in the state. Working closely with the Community College of Baltimore County, the program is now available to potential students. There were many committee level meetings at CCBC to approve the program. Once passed by CCBC, it was sent for approval to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) which quickly accepted it.
The goal of the program is to produce an entry-level laboratory professional that can perform procedures according to documented methodology, policy and protocol established for routine and specialized areas of the histology laboratory. The program combines both didactic training in core histotechnological concepts and practical training. The program is intended to enhance the ability of students to reason, understand and apply correct principles by teaching analytical and critical thinking skills. The curriculum stresses Histotechnology theory, practical application as well as the development of job skills.
The prerequisites include classes in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology and medical technology to prepare future histotechnicians for their careers. The curriculum includes safety, instrumentation, fixation, processing and special stains.
There will be a laboratory on campus where students will gain hands on experience in embedding, microtomy and H&E hand staining before going out to the sites. The program will be 2 years plus a summer. The summer semester will concentrate on immunohistochemistry techniques and future trends in histotechnology, The student will experience a different site each semester. Partnerships with hospitals in the Baltimore area have volunteered to accept the students. The student will graduate in August and will be able to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) registry exam immediately afterward.
For more information about the Program, see the CCBC website: