The Histopathology Technician serves in the histology section in
the Anatomical Pathology Department of the Pathology and Laboratory
Medicine Service (PLMS) at the John Cochran Division of this two
division Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Specimens generated at
both hospitals are processed and analyzed at the John Cochran
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Histopathology technicians at this level generally have a higher
level of responsibility for technical oversight, and are expected
to carry out assigned tasks of considerable difficulty
independently. The incumbent will have the responsibility of
performing difficult specialized histological, histochemical, and
immunohistochemical procedures, as well as developing, modifying,
or adapting new staining methods or techniques, improving existing
methods as necessary for routine histo-technology procedures. The
technician will be responsible for troubleshooting issues with
instruments and resolving problems.
- The histopathology technician typically performs procedures in
preparing histologic sections (surgical pathology, autopsy and cell
blocks) working independently (with limited supervision of the
supervisor or designee as the need arises). These procedures are
performed in the manner described by the College of American
Pathologists (CAP) as well as the written guidelines of PLMS and as
required by The Joint Commission, and other regulatory
- Prepares solutions and reagents used in the Histology
Laboratory. Monitor reagents inventory, know the amount of reagent
needed to keep on hand performing tasks and replenish the supplies
as the need arises.
- Receiving and correctly accessioning the different histology
and cytology specimens accurately into the patients' electronic
medical record system.-Prepares samples, slides, smears, or other
types of specimens common to the laboratory.
- Operates tissue processors and ensure optimal tissue fixation,
dehydration and paraffin infiltration. Paraffin embeds processed
tissues. Performs microtomy and cut various tissue section levels
on a variety of specimen types. Mounts tissue sections on slides
avoiding folds, chatter, and floaters on a properly warmed water
- Performs a variety of standard routine hematoxylin and Eosin
stains as well as special histochemical stains such as: PAS,
trichrome, myelin, amyloid, mucin, reticulin, luxol-fast blue,
bacterial stains, fungal stains, acid-fast stains.
- Provide technical assistance for intra-operative frozen section
consultations. Maintains the staining row and the cryostat in the
frozen section room.-Performs minor duties in the morgue as
- Follows standard procedures and applies a practical knowledge
of the properties of the specimens to ensure an adequate sample for
pathologist diagnosis.-Performs manual procedures as required
during computer down times. Prepare samples, slides, smears, or
other types of specimens common to the laboratory.-Work with the
other team members, pathology assistant, resident and pathologist
to gain a better understanding concerning the proper tissue
embedding technique and to understand the established protocol for
the number of sections required.-Monitors the integrity of
laboratory facilities and equipment and the environment for
- Closely monitor instruments and equipment in the Anatomic
Pathology Laboratories for proper functioning and optimal
- Perform and record machine maintenance in the preventative
maintenance manual. Calibrate the pH meter.-Receives and assess
reagents procured for use in the Anatomic pathology laboratory.
Properly stores reagents received and promptly notifies supervisor
if any damage had been done to the shipment.
- Maintains laboratory records including inventory of reagents
and also records of machine maintenance.
- Record manually or electronically all activities and work
performed. Check quality control (QC) of stains and complete the
proper QC forms for Pathologist review.
- The incumbent performs established quality control procedures
to check the accuracy and validity of the test results. Any
deviations in quality control results are documented and reported
to the supervisor. Prior to further processing for analysis of
patients' sample, the incumbent takes action to correct the quality
control deviations. He/she identifies instrument malfunctions, if
applicable, and takes appropriate action to correct them. The
incumbent identifies unusual test results or
discrepancies/conditions that can cause erroneous results
(instrument malfunction, conditions of test performance, reaction
systems and/or test procedures). The individual takes appropriate
action to make corrections and solve problems.
- The incumbent will observe all laboratory safety and infection
control practices in accordance with the procedures established by
national, regional, and facility policies.
Work Schedule: Full Time Mon - Fri 8:00am - 4:30pm
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required
0646 Pathology Technician
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
- Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
- Selective Service Registration is required for males born after
- You may be required to serve a probationary period
- Subject to a background/security investigation
- Must be proficient in written and spoken English
- Selected applicants will be required to complete an online
Applicants pending the completion of educational or
certification/licensure requirements may be referred and
tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements
- United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed
when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance
with VA Policy.
- English Language Proficiency: Histopathology Technicians must
be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with
chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5.a., this part.
May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering
Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this
occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in
this occupation and meet the criteria).
Preferred Experience: One year of experience in a health care
field that demonstrates the applicant's ability to perform the work
or provides an understanding of the work such as but not limited to
a medical or clinical laboratory assistant (or technician) or
Education: (a) Four academic years above high school leading to
a bachelor's degree with courses related to the occupation such as
biological science or chemistry; or (b) Successful completion of
two academic years of study above high school that included at
least 24 semester hours in Chemistry and/or in appropriate fields
of biological science and successful completion of a 12-month
program of education and training in histopathology or
NOTE: Graduate education or an internship meets the specialized
experience required above GS-5 only in those instances where it is
directly related to the work of the position. One full year of
graduate education meets the requirements for GS-7. Two full years
of graduate education or a master's degree meets the requirements
for GS-9. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to
be the number of credit hours that the school attended has
determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that
information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours
should be considered as satisfying the 1 year of full-time study
requirement. Part-time graduate education is creditable in
accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at
the school attended.
Experience/Education Combination: Equivalent combination of
experience and education are qualifying for entry level for which
both education and experience are acceptable. Examples are: (a) Six
months of experience in the health care field and two years of
education above high school that included at least six semester
hours in health care related courses such as biological science,
surgical technician courses or other courses related to the
position; or an associate's degree in a health care related field.
(b) Six months of experience in the health care field and
successful completion of a course for health care technicians,
hospital corpsmen, medical service specialists, or histopathology
technicians given by the U.S. Armed Forces.
Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for
employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the
grade of candidates:
(1) Experience. One year of experience equivalent to the next
lower grade level.
(2) Assignment. Histopathology technicians at this level
generally have a higher level of responsibility for technical
oversight, and are expected to carry out assigned tasks of
considerable difficulty independently. The incumbent will have the
responsibility of performing difficult specialized histological,
histochemical, and immunohistochemical procedures, as well as
developing, modifying, or adapting new staining methods or
techniques, improving existing methods as necessary for routine
histotechnology procedures. The technician will be responsible for
troubleshooting issues with instruments and resolving problems. For
all assignments above the full performance level, the higher-level
duties must consist of significant scope, complexity (difficulty)
and range of variety and be performed by the incumbent at least 25%
of the time.
Specialized ExperienceAnatomical pathology technician work in
(a) cutting and staining very thin sections of human tissue
specimens for microscopic examination; and/or in (b) testing and
examining body fluids, etc. for abnormalities in cell structure,
depending upon the requirements of the position to be filled.
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.
In addition to the experience above, the candidate must
demonstrate all of the following KSAs.
(a) Skill in applying professional, complex anatomic pathology
principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or
difficult specialized testing methods or techniques.
(b) Ability to provide technical oversight of laboratory quality
control and assurance procedures and principles of performance
improvement exhibiting competence in managing reagent and supply
inventories and document control systems.
(c) Ability to validate methodologies, operate anatomic
pathology laboratory equipment and perform complex instrument
(d) Ability to use independent technical judgment to analyze and
evaluate laboratory results and resolve problems.
References: VA Handbook 5005/102 Part II Appendix G55
Physical Requirements: The work requires regular and recurring
standing to perform tests; prolonged sitting while utilizing a
microtome; walking, reaching, stooping and bending to obtain
supplies and operate instruments. The incumbent occasionally lifts
heavy containers of reagents or supplies.
IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application
if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on
Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities,
schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal
employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.
If you are using foreign education to meet qualification
requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency
with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education.
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