Histotechnology Bachelor’s Degree Nears Final Approval

Student with brown hair in bun readies a slide
By Jill Dolan

September 26, 2022 - 09:50 AM

Mt. San Antonio College is set to offer a bachelor’s degree in histotechnology as soon as next year, paving the way to better job opportunities for students.

When approved, Mt. SAC will join more than a dozen other community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. California community colleges are able to accomplish this because of bills passed in 2014 and 2021, and as long as a nearby California State University or University of California campus does not offer the same degree.  The college still needs to receive final approval from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the CCC Board of Governors, with the possibility of beginning the program in 2023 or 2024.  Students will pay $46 a unit for the first two years and then $130 a unit for the remainder of the program. Many courses will be held in the evening or online to accommodate working professionals.

Histotechnicians prepare thin sections of human, animal and plant tissue for microscopic examination. The college’s program trains students for employment in clinical, veterinary, forensic, marine biology, and research laboratories.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook projects 11% job growth among clinical laboratory technician and technologist occupations between 2020 and 2030.  This growth rate is faster than the average projected growth rate among all occupations.  The BLS also indicates that the aging population likely will lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions through laboratory procedures.  In this region, the demand for these occupations is projected to grow by 17.8% by 2028, an increase of 2,280 positions, with the highest growth in Orange County. 

“There is a nationwide shortage of histotechnicians, and this is a high-skill, high-wage profession,” said Jennifer McDonald, the program’s director. ”Our students are in high demand and often get hired before completing the program.”

Started with seed money in 2001, Mt. SAC’s program is the only one of its kind in the state and the largest in the United States. The cumulative pass rate on the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
Histotechnology Exam is over 92%, and all students are successfully placed in facilities, including City of Hope, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and UCLA Medical Center, following completion of the program.

Learn more about the program.