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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a histotechnician?

A: A histotechnician is an individual who is trained in the preparation and staining of tissue slides for microscopic examination and disease diagnosis by the pathologist. Histotechnicians may be employed in a variety of areas, such as operating rooms, clinics, doctors' offices, research, veterinary pathology, marine biology, forensic pathology, and the pharmaceutical industry. Histotechnicians may preserve organs for later examination, perform enzyme biochemistry or electron microscopy. Histotechnicians may also assist the pathologist in the preparation of frozen tissue sections which are used to provide rapid diagnosis.

A histotechnician must be able to discriminate between closely similar items and correction of errors by use of pre-set strategies. They are required to know specific techniques and instruments, and be able to recognize factors which directly affect procedures and results. The technician monitors quality control programs within predetermined parameters.

Q: What is the average salary for a histotechnician?

A: The national average salary for histotechnicians is approximately $47,200, although salaries vary by area of the country. The entry-level salary in Rhode Island is $47,500 - $59,738 per year, and usually includes benefits. Evening and part-time positions are available with shift differential.

Q: What type of training is required?

A: A two-year program that includes histology training is required. At the end of this experience, the students are eligible to take a registry examination which certifies them to work in this field and become licensed as a histotechnician by the State of Rhode Island. The training program at CCRI is an associate degree program that combines theory with technical skills. This program includes a supervised clinical experience at a local hospital. The student will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) with a major in Histology.

Q: How long will it take to complete the program?

A: This program can be completed in two consecutive years. However, if a student must work, all the non-technical courses can be taken at his or her convenience (evening or day). The technical courses are offered only during the daytime and must be taken in sequence unless special permission is obtained from the Program Director. At a student's request, a program of study can be designed to fit his or her special needs as long as there is a space available at the clinical site and arrangements have been made with the Program Director prior to the student's entrance into the technical courses.

Q: What are the necessary high school courses?

A: Any high school student interested in this program should be enrolled in a math and science curriculum, which includes algebra and basic sciences (including biology and chemistry). The student should also have good reading and writing skills, and be ready for English Composition I at the college level.

Q: What does the Histotechnician Program consist of at CCRI?

A: The program contains three semesters at the clinical site (hospital): 2 days/week for 15 weeks in the spring semester of freshman year, 3 days/week for 15 weeks in the fall semester of sophomore year, and 4 days/week for 15 weeks in the spring semester of sophomore year. Training occurs during the daytime from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student must also take general education requirements. A minimum grade of C or better is required, and the student must have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average to graduate from the college.

Q: What is the typical cost of this program?

A: The typical cost of the program for a full-time student is the current CCRI tuition for five semesters, books, lab coats, uniforms and travel expenses to the clinical sites. Additional information can be found on the Bursar website at

Q: If I apply, what are the chances of getting accepted?

A: CCRI accepts approximately 15 students into the Histotechnician Program each March.

Q: Whom may I contact for more information?

Community College of Rhode Island
Office of Enrollment Services
1 Hilton St.
Providence, RI 02905
Community College of Rhode Island
Allied and Rehabilitative Health Department
1762 Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI 02865

Q: What online resources would you recommend?

A: American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) -
click on 'careers center'
This is the professional organization for clinical laboratory science practitioners.

A: American Society for Clinical Pathology
Information on medical laboratory careers

A: National Society for Histotechnology