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Histotechnology (MHP) Technical Standards

The goal of the Histotechnology (MHP) program is to prepare every student to think critically and practice pathology competently in diverse environments. All efforts are designed to build pathology knowledge, enhance practice and foster professional integrity. To this end, certain functional abilities are essential for the delivery of safe, effective practice during clinical training activities. Therefore, the faculty has determined that certain technical standards are requisite for admission, progression and graduation from the Histotechnology program.

In addition to classroom learning, clinical learning occurs throughout the program and involves considerations (such as patient safety and clinical facilities) that are not present for classroom accommodations. For this reason, any applicant or student who seeks accommodations prior to or immediately after enrolling in the Histotechnology program must also consider requesting assessment of the types of reasonable accommodations needed for the clinical training component of the program.

An individual must be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, meet the following technical standards of general abilities and those specifically of:

Individuals unable to meet these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, will not be able to complete the program and are counseled to pursue alternate careers.

Should you be requesting accommodations in order to achieve these standards, please contact the Office of Disability Services:

Office of Disability Services
3201 Arch Street, Suite 210
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215.895.1401
TTY: 215.895.2277
Fax: 215.895.1402

Technical Standards - Admission, Academic Progression and Graduation


Candidates must be able to observe close up and from a distance. In a clinical situation, visual skills are essential when using a microscope and when performing embedding and microtomy of tissues. Observation requires visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. Each student must possess a good sense of visual discrimination, especially as it relates to numbering (specimens, cassettes, tissue blocks, etc.) and differentiating colors which are essential to accurate gross descriptions. Comprehending spatial relationships in three dimensions is also critical in all aspects of the work of a histotechnologist.


Each student must possess the functional use of the English language, since all instructions and knowledge-based education are in this format. Written reports, procedures and protocols are required. All such written documents must be comprehensible. A good solid command of the English language is imperative for these functions to be accomplished.

Physical and motor

Each student must possess sufficient fine motor skills and manual dexterity to perform careful, precise and accurate embedding and microtomy of tissue. A certain degree of motor strength is necessary for changing tissue processors. Each student must possess the physical capability to lift and/or cause to move large volumes of fluids. Sufficient overall motor strength and coordination is required for many aspects of the profession.

Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities

All students in the Histotechnology program must possess problem-solving abilities and have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. The ability to concentrate is essential in maintaining specimen integrity in a very busy work environment in anatomic pathology laboratories.

Essential behavioral, emotional and social attributes

Consistent and dependable attendance is essential for the didactic and clinical phases of the training. Each student must possess the necessary alertness at all times to perform efficiently, accurately and safely in the laboratory. Solid interpersonal skills are necessary in exercising good judgment in a professional and caring way in addition to interacting with hospital staff, university personnel and the general public in a diplomatic manner. Each student must exhibit good personal grooming habits, including personal hygiene and selection of appropriate apparel, to be in accordance with the stated university and hospital policies.

Safety Standards

Exposures to infectious cases, such as CJD, HIV, TB, hepatitis B, C, D, and other agents are quite common.

According to OSHA, contact lenses can be a safety hazard, since some degree of chemical exposure (fumes from formalin, xylene, alcohol, etc.) may be a common occurrence. Contact lenses may be a safety threat if chemical or biological splashes occur, since the lens can trap the inciting factor/agent and preclude effective rinsing.

The safety factor in the utilization of microtome blades, razor blades, knives and scissors is critical.

Chemical fumes (formalin fixative), latex or talc powder may elicit allergic reactions.