Frequently Asked Questions

What is Histology?

Histology, or histotechnology, is the science dealing with the structure of cells and their formation into tissues and organs. Histology is a structural science concerned with the demonstration of cellular change, chemical composition, and function of normal and abnormal tissue. Histology technicians, or histotechnicians) (HTs) prepare sections of body tissue for microscopic examination by pathologists or other medical scientists. The histology technician freezes and cuts tissue, then mounts them on slides and stains them with special dyes to make them visible under the microscope. The tissue may be of human, animal, or plant origin. Prepared sections enable pathologists to identify signs of disease, illness, or malignancies in the body, as well as signs of normality or improvement.

What is the HCC Online Certification in Histotechnology?

The Harford Community College Online Histotechnology Certification program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL, 60018, 773-714-8880. This program is an option for students to prepare for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) national certification examination. Those who pass the exam are certified as Histology Technicians (HT). Certified HTs usually work in human health care, veterinary, industrial or research laboratories.

What is the admission process?

Admission to the program is subject to approval by the director. Application instructions are included in the admission packet. Students must provide official transcripts, payment for the program and complete all of the required documents included in the admission packet to be considered. Once the admission packet has been reviewed, students will receive notification of their status at the email address provided in their packet. Incomplete packets will be returned.

What are the requirements for this program?

To be eligible you must be an incumbent worker, currently employed by a laboratory. The prerequisites for this program area an Associate's Degree or higher from a regionally accredited college/university and successful completion of high school and/or college level biology and chemistry. The Associate's Degree is not major specific.

*Students who are Florida residents must also apply for a clinical laboratory trainee license at the Florida Department of Health. Prior to applying for your trainee license, first make a copy of your lab's Florida State License and fax (443-412-2110) or email ( it with your full name and contact information. Your name will be submitted by Harford Community College to the FDOH by email (you will be copied on this email). You may then apply for your trainee license. A copy of this license must be included in your admission packet.

What are the payment options?

Payment is due at the time of registration. Students have the option to pay by check, credit card, approved employer invoice request, the FACTS Payment Plan, or loan from a financial institution. Payment will not be processed until the student is accepted into the program, with the exception of the nonrefundable application fee and initial FACTS deposit. The FACTS Payment Plan requires 1/4 down of the program fee, plus a $35 application fee. This initial amount is immediately withdrawn from the designated account at the time of application. The remaining balance is divided into 4 equal monthly installments, deducted on the 5th of each subsequent month.

Note: Financial aid through FASFA does not apply to this Continuing Education and Training program.

How long is the course?

Since this is a self-paced course, actual times will vary slightly for each student. Students must complete the program in 10 months. Under special circumstances students may apply for an additional two-month extension. After twelve months, students are required to reapply and pay additional fees to continue in the program.

When can I begin this program?

Enrollment is On Demand. Students must complete and submit all required documents, fee, and payment to be considered. The admission to the program is subject to approval by the Program Director. Once approved, students will receive an acceptance email and begin the course.

How much time can I expect to spend each week on this program?

You should plan to spend an average of 20 hours per week on the combination of coursework and clinical assignments.

How do I complete the clinical work?

Clinical work is required and is designed to complement the online instruction. Students perform clinical assignments in the laboratory where they work. Students will need a certified HT to agree to be their educational clinical mentor. This mentor will review, work, verify completion of assignments, and help to keep the student on track. Students will mail clinical assignments to the online instructor for grading.

Are there any scholarships or payment programs available?

There is a payment plan – Harford Community College offers the FACTS Payment Plan to all students. Financial aid approved through FASFA does not apply to this Continuing Education and Training program.

What are the required practicums?

Students will need access to specific stains and tissues. Full-service histology labs, with access to a variety of stains, will have everything the student needs. Students employed by dermatology labs may need to have access to a partnering institution willing to provide access to required stains and tissues.

Are transcripts required?

Students are required to submit official copies of college and/or high school transcripts demonstrating the receipt of a degree and successful completion of Biology and Chemistry. The transcripts can be included, unopened, with an application or mailed to Harford Community College, attn: Histotechnology-CET.

Students who obtained their education from foreign colleges or universities must have their transcript evaluated by any NACES approved agency. A complete list of approved agencies can be found on their website at

What is required of a clinical mentor?

Students have both a clinical mentor at the lab at which they work and an assigned online mentor, employed by the College, to teach theory. As a clinical mentor, your primary responsibilities are to assist the student in developing skills according to specified competencies in the student handbook; to conduct a quick review of assignments prior to the student sending the assignments to the online mentor for grading; and to help the student stay on a ten-month schedule for program completion. (Students in online classes often fall behind in course work, because they are not in contact with other classmates. Therefore, your encouragement will be invaluable to maintain a schedule.)

What can students do if they need to take biology, and/or chemistry to meet the program prerequisites?

Students may take the courses at other community colleges or universities. Before taking courses, students must request the approval of the program director at Harford Community College, Continuing Education and Training, offers Introduction to Chemistry and Introduction to Biology, through Ed2Go.

Why is the affiliation agreement required?

The Agreement between Harford Community College and Histotechnology Laboratories defines the responsibilities of the College, the participating clinical laboratory, and the student for this particular program. This program is nontraditional in that it is for incumbent workers. The student and the clinical mentor are both employees of the laboratory site and the College does not send faculty or other students to your site. Additionally, Harford Community College does not and is not required to collect immunization records, drug tests, or perform criminal background checks, as these are conditions of employment by your site. Therefore, no outside agreements are necessary or will be considered for this program.