Histotechnician (A.A.S.)
Program Goals & Expected Competencies

Introduction & Goals


The Histotechnology Program at SUNY Cobleskill is nationally accredited through the *National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and it is recognized by the New York State Education Department as a State Licensure Qualifying program.


The primary goals of this program are to provide the theoretical and technical training necessary to prepare a student to enter the job market as an entry level competent HT (ASCP) eligible Histotechnician.


The program is a two year A.A.S. degree program with the Histotechnology option. The program includes lecture based presentations, a clinical rotation at an Affiliate Hospital as well as technical training on the Cobleskill campus in the highly specialized Behling Center for Histotechnology. Since it is a degree program within the Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences, there are not only required math and science courses for the program, but also a variety of Liberal Arts and General Education courses. These additional requirements provide opportunities for personal growth and development in areas such as oral and written communication skills that are highly beneficial to success in the field.


Each student will be strongly encouraged to take the national certification exam sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). If the student anticipates working in New York State, a New York State License will also be required. Currently the State has a contract with the ASCP and a New York License will be granted upon successful completion of the ASCP sponsored HT examination. It is important to note that New York State does not recognize or accept the HTL certification exam. It is essential, therefore, to take the HT exam if you plan to work in New York State even if you are nationally eligible for HTL certification. Graduates of the program are well prepared for these exams and for entry into the workplace through the successful completion of the three core courses, Microscopic Anatomy (Histology), Microtechniques, and the Clinical Rotation.


*NAACLS, 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, Illinois 60018-5119.
Phone: 773-714-8880, Fax: 773-714-8886, info@naacls.org



Expected Student Competencies


The expected student competencies for an entry level histotechnician include both theoretical and technical proficiencies. Upon completion of the program, each student will be expected to demonstrate entry level competence in the following areas:


  • Tissue identification and microscopy
  • Accessioning
  • Fixation
  • Processing
  • Embedding
  • Microtomy
  • Routine and special nuclear and cytoplasmic stains
  • Laboratory health and safety
  • Instrumentation
  • Laboratory mathematics
  • Frozen sectioning (cryotomy)
  • Decalcification of bone


The expected competencies include not only mastery of the technical skills in the areas listed above, but also:



  • An understanding of anatomy, physiology, histology and pathology as it applies to normal and abnormal tissues
  • A working comprehension of the underlying principles involved in tissue preparation and staining
  • An awareness of health and safety procedures
  • An understanding of the ethical standards of practice


Application of Technical Skills

  • The ability to select and follow standard operating procedures
  • The technical knowledge necessary to perform laboratory tests including:
    - Specimen collection and processing
    - Instrument operation and troubleshooting
    - Result reporting and record documentation
    - Quality control monitoring
    - Health and Safety reporting
    - Selection and use of appropriate control tissue(s)
  • Basic computer competency and the ability to utilize various programs
  • The ability to select appropriate reagents and prepare solutions


Problem Solving and Decision-making Abilities

  • The ability to recognize unexpected results and instrument malfunction
  • The knowledge and initiative to take corrective action for unexpected problems according to known laboratory criteria
  • The willingness to refer problems to the faculty, staff and/or supervisor as needed


  • A good command of the English language
  • The ability to converse courteously and in an articulate manner
  • The ability to develop and present documents (worksheets, reports etc) that are understandable, concise and accurate
  • A willingness to work cooperatively with peers, faculty and staff


Detailed goals and objectives (learning outcomes) will be provided with each of the three core courses, Microscopic Anatomy, Mictotechniques and the Clinical Rotation.


Student Working in Lab



For more information
please contact:

Adam N. Tegnander, HT (ASCP)cm
Program Director




The SUNY Cobleskill
Histotechnology Program is a fully accredited institution by:
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, Illinois 60018-5119
Phone: 773-714-8880 
Fax: 773-714-8886


The program is also registered as a New York State Licensure Qualifying program. Graduates are eligible for national certification by the American Society for Clinical Pathology and for New York State Licensure.