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Certificate Program in Histotechnology

Program Description

This 22-credit hour certificate provides clinical histotechnology training to prepare health professionals for a career in a histology laboratory.  The courses are a combination of online, on-campus, and clinical practicums performed in an accredited laboratory setting.  After completion of the certificate program, graduates are eligible to take the Histotechnologist (HTL) exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).  Currently, there is no state licensure requirement for histotechnologists in Tennessee.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor’s of Science degree with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.8 (based on a 4.0 scale) from an accredited college or university
  • Completion of the following semester credit hours of prerequisite coursework with a grade of “C” or better in each course:
    • 30 total hours in biology and chemistry including:
      • 8 credit hours of biology
      • 8 credit hours of chemistry
      • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • 3 credit hours of college algebra or statistics
  • Students with degrees older than 5 years may be required to update science courses
  • Two letters of recommendation from college instructors or employers
  • Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit the results of the TOEFL, with a minimum score of 550 on the written, 213 on the computer test, or 80 on the TOEFL iBT®
  • Official transcripts from a foreign applicant’s native country must be evaluated course by course by one of the credentialing agencies approved by UTHSC. This evaluation must be sent to UTHSC’s Office of Enrollment Services on or before the program’s application deadline. Contact the Department of Clinical Laboratory Science for more information.
  • Interview with the faculty

Completion Requirements

Admitted students complete courses in a part-time, lock-step manner over 12 months. The curriculum covers one calendar year from January until December. The students are eligible to take the HTL registry exam after the final day of coursework is successfully completed.

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for successful completion of the certificate program.

The tuition and fee schedule for programs in the UTHSC College of Health Professions changes each year. PDF versions of the most recent tuition and fee information can be found on the UTHSC Bursar's Office website.

Winter/Spring (Jan -May)
Credit Hours
MCP 401 Histology
2 (15-45)
MCP 420 Histotechnology Theory I
3 (45-0)
MCP 435 Histotechnology Practice I
3 (0-35)
MCP 471 Laboratory Techniques II
2 (15-45)


Summer/Fall (July – December)
Credit Hours
MCP 552 Histotechnology Theory II
3 (45-0)
MCP 565 Histotechnology Practice II
3 (0-135)
MCP 598 Practicum
6 (6 weeks)

For admission to the Certificate in Histotechnology program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), students are expected to be able to successfully meet the Technical Standards outlined below. Students are required to sign the Technical Standards Commitment form indicating their understanding and ability to meet these standards either with or without accommodations (for persons with documented disabilities). Any questions about these technical standards should be directed to the program director of the MCP program. 

UTHSC receives applications from a diverse body of potential students including those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to help students meet these technical standards when appropriate, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any student wishing accommodations should contact the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) for further information. Information regarding accommodations can be found on the SASSI website page or by calling 901-448-5056.

In the event a student cannot fulfill these Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations at any time in their program, the student will be ineligible for admission or continued enrollment in the program. In addition to ensuring that students can meet the intellectual, emotion and physical criteria for histotechnology, it should also be noted that of utmost importance is the student’s ability to provide for the welfare and safety of their patients and others. This is the foundation of all Technical Standards and if this cannot be done, the student is unable to meet the criteria outlined by the Technical Standards. 

Once enrolled in the MCP Program, students must meet the requirements of the curriculum, including the demonstration of the skills described herein for the Program in order to progress through the curriculum and to graduate.

General Abilities

  • Ability to measure, calculate, analyze, interpret, synthesize and evaluate data
  • Possess organizational skills and be able to solve one or more problems within specific time frames which are often short
  • Ability to perform duties and assignments in a timely fashion while under stress and in a variety of settings
  • Ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of anatomic, histologic and cellular structures
  • Ability to acquire specified microscopic interpretive skills as presented by microscopic demonstrations and other experiences required by the curriculum
  • Possess sufficient stamina to tolerate physically taxing workloads
  • Ability to sit for long periods of time while working with a microscope or at a microtome
  • Ability to remain alert and concentrate for extended periods of time
  • Ability to acquire information developed through didactic instruction, independent learning, clinical experience and consultation
  • Ability to understand reading assignments and to search and evaluate the literature
  • Ability to complete written assignments and maintain written records
  • Ability to use a computer for instructional assignments and patient care activities

Observational/Sensory Skills:

  • Visual acuity (corrected to 20/40); visual perception with respect to depth and color
  • Ability to discriminate fine details and structures in objects under a microscope
  • Ability to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory experiments

Physical and Motor Skills

  • Possess sufficient motor function to operate/manipulate and maintain a microscope, microtome and other laboratory instruments or equipment
  • Dexterity with both wrists, hands and arms, and dexterity will all fingers
  • Ability to grasp, pinch, push, pull, hold, extend, rotate and cut
  • Possess eye-hand coordination and ability to accurately judge distance and depth
  • Ability to manipulate or control small objects such as tissues with forceps and scalpels

Communication Skills

  • Ability to communicate in English in oral and written form
  • Ability to participate in discussion in the classroom, the clinical arena and with colleagues and patients

Professional Conduct, Behavioral & Social Skills

  • Ability to function as part of a team through communication, consultation, negotiation, and sharing
  • Ability to manage time, organize workload, and meet deadlines
  • Ability to delegate responsibilities appropriately and supervise others
  • Ability to adhere to safety guidelines for self and others
  • Ability to comply with standards and regulations required by external agencies
  • Ability to follow instructions/procedures with accuracy and precision
  • Ability to maintain intellectual and emotional stability and maturity under stress, while also maintaining appropriate performance standards
  • Ability to learn and exhibit professional attributes

Clinical Judgement

  • Ability to prioritize and perform laboratory testing
  • Ability to obtain and/or verify patient samples
  • Ability to make sound judgments and formulate diagnoses after correlating clinical data with laboratory findings
  • Ability to adapt to a variety of patient care situations, including crises
  • Ability to troubleshoot instrumentation problems and resolve staining inconsistencies

For further information about the histotechnology program or curriculum, please email Sheila Criswell, HTL at

Jul 24, 2023