Oregon Public Universities


Classification Specifications


Classification Number: 6840


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Salary Range 19 $2971 $3103 $3235 $3382 $3540 $3710 $3887 $4072 $4265 $4479

The HISTOTECHNOLOGIST prepares slides of human or animal tissue used by pathologists in the evaluation, study and diagnosis of disease or other medical disorders or to determine cause of death.


This is a single classification and not currently part of a series of classes.


1. Tissue Processing. Typical tasks: assigns accession numbers to tissue specimens received from pathologist; determines best method to embed tissue so it can be sectioned as thinly as needed to provide best preparation of tissue; operates and monitors automatic tissue processors that automatically remove water from tissue and infiltrate tissue with paraffin; checks processors for adequate solution and correct temperature and time schedule and makes all necessary adjustments; processes, by hand, tissue that must be sectioned very thinly (2 microns); embeds tissue in plastic media.
2. Slide Preparation.
Typical tasks: embeds processed tissue in block of paraffin or plastic for sectioning; operates microtome to thin section tissue to thickness appropriate for specimen being reviewed (2 to 5 microns); places thin section of tissue on slide; puts slides through various solutions to remove paraffin or plastic and restore water to tissue; stains slides using routine staining solutions; places coverslip on slide and labels slide indicating tissue type, stain used and accession number; checks slide under microscope to determine if desired result was achieved or if slide needs to be redone; prepares specially stained slides, when requested by pathologist to test for a specific disease or abnormality; determines best way to prepare and stain tissue based on type of test to be performed and prepares the special stains needed to achieve desired results; prepares slides required for some tests by freezing submitted tissue, thin sectioning and preparing the fresh chemical stains needed to stain tissues; records the date specimen was received, the procedures used in processing tissue, stains used and number of slides prepared from specimen.
3. Materials Preparation.
Typical tasks: prepares fixatives, graded alcohols, stains and enzyme reagents used in tissue staining.
4. Equipment Maintenance.
Typical tasks: cleans and adjusts microscopes, microtomes, water baths and other equipment used in histology laboratory; sharpens steel microtome knives; balances scales; makes glass knives for microtome used in thin sectioning plastic embedded tissue.
5. Miscellaneous.
Typical tasks: cleans work area, sinks, counters and glassware; prepares records of quality control checks run on stains prepared and on the maintenance of instruments and equipment; maintains file of scientific histology publications.


Employees in this class have daily in-person or telephone contact with pathologist, hospital residents or staff of other laboratories to provide requested slides and to obtain information regarding any special stains required or to receive any special directions on the fixation, cutting or embedding of tissue.


Employees in this class work under the general supervision of a histology laboratory supervisor or other administrative superior who assigns work verbally and in writing. Work assignments are also received from pathologist submitting tissue samples for slide preparation. Work is reviewed on a daily basis for, quality of work performed and to insure that proper embedding, sectioning and staining techniques are used. The quality of slides prepared is also reviewed by the pathologist requesting slides.

Laboratory policy manuals, quality control manuals, histology procedures manual, and Federal and State safety standards are used as guidelines in preparing stains and embedding and thin sectioning various tissues, and for the proper handling and disposal of toxic and hazardous materials.


Positions in this class are primarily found in hospitals and health institutions. They require the willingness to work in the environment associated with the position's location and purpose.


  • a two year Associate's degree in a medical laboratory technology program or equivalent.

NOTE: Preference will be given to candidates who are ASCP registered or eligible to become ASCP registered.