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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Central Texas College offers new degree starting this fall

Harker Heights Evening Star

Central Texas College (CTC) will open a new degree program in the area of histology in the fall 2016 semester. The new Associate of Applied Science degree in histologic technology – the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals – was designed to prepare students to enter a high-paying and in-demand career as a histologic laboratory technician.
CTC has opted to open this degree plan to help meet the growing demand for histologic technicians (histo-technicians) in the medical field. “According to the Texas Work Force, medical lab technicians, including histo-technicians, have one of the brightest career outlooks for the future,” said Ann Kelly, program director for the CTC Medical Lab Technology program. “They estimate a 29.6 percent increase in jobs between now and 2022. It is a high paying job with an average of $26-35 an hour to start and great job security and fulfillment.”
The new CTC histology program will be the first in central Texas with designs to be one of the few accredited programs in the nation. “Our medical lab technology program, which is one of the most successful in the country, is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Services,” said Kelly. We are currently working to gain accreditation for the histology program as well.”
Kelly indicated there has been overwhelming support from area hospitals for CTC to start a histology program. “The hospitals were either short of staff or were having to hire histo-technicians from out of state,” said Kelly. “It was a serious issue for central Texas. Pathologists have to have histo-technicians in-order to process biopsies. The laboratory is one of the major fields physicians rely on to make a diagnosis. Without trained, experienced techs, it can seriously impair the outcome of many patients.”
Histology can help students gain a better understanding of cell behavior and reproduction. Many diseases occur at tissue level. Cancer, for example, is often the result of problematic tissue overgrowth, and some infections cause tissue to necrotize. Histology provides insight into development of disease and by studying how tissues are structured and how they work. “Knowing what a normal tissue looks like and how it works is key for recognizing different diseases when they are abnormal,” said Kelly. “Histology can help you understand why some treatments work effectively than others, and why certain lifestyles may harm you over time.”
In addition to the 60-credit hour classroom work, CTC’s new histology degree program involves 760 clinical hours. According to Kelly, candidates for the program should have a strong interest in anatomy and physiology, genetics, mathematics, have great attention to detail and a great work ethic. “These jobs are more than jobs, they are a service, because of the difference these jobs make in the lives of others we service,” she said.

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