Histologist examine and test body fluids and cells.

Histologist examine and test body fluids and cells.

A histologist is one of many individuals who work in a medical laboratory setting. They are responsible for examining fluid and tissue samples, and noting the presence of microorganisms like bacteria or parasites. They match blood types for transfusions and test for levels of certain drugs in the body’s system.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree/Certification Requirement: Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Preferred

Vital Skills/Knowledge: Microbiology, Microanalysis, Laboratory Skills

Average Starting Salary: around $40,000/year

Job Description

Histologists work on the scientific side of medicine. They rarely interact with patients, as they spend most of their time in the laboratory. However, their work is vital in diagnosing and treating diseases. They receive specimens to be examined and return the results to the patient’s doctor. Histologists must be comfortable working with blood and other bodily fluids/tissues. In a day, a histologist might:

  • Match blood samples for a transfusion
  • Stain a tissue sample to search for bacteria or other pathogens
  • Analyze a patient’s blood for drugs
  • Use a microscope to look for abnormalities in a sample

Histologists work under the supervision of lab supervisors, but they largely work alone. Ideal candidates can focus for long periods of time without loosing accuracy in their work.


While some hospitals will hire histologists with associates degrees, most require that applicants possess a bachelors of science in biology, microbiology, or a similar life science.

High schoolers looking at a Histologist Career should take college-preparatory courses, with an emphasis in laboratory science.

Certification/ Licensing

Certified histologists make significantly more than their uncertified counterparts (almost $10,000 less a year), and many hospitals require their staff to be certified. The histology certification exam is available from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

Job Outlook: Fair

The predicted growth for all types of medical technologists, including histologists, is at 10%, on par with the national average. The average annual income for a certified histologist is over $46,680.

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