As crucial members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service at the Northport VA Medical Center, Histopathology Technologists possess broad knowledge of biological sciences and the skills necessary to process anatomic pathology specimens. The work performed by histopathology technologists is vital for pathologists to interpret laboratory results and provide diagnoses and prognoses that allow for planning appropriate and life-saving treatments. Basic Requirements: Citizenship: Candidates must be a United States citizen. Education: Individuals must meet one of the requirements below (transcripts must be submitted with application): Successful completion of a full four-year course of study from an accredited college or university, leading to a bachelor's or higher degree, that included a major study in an academic field related to health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of a histopathology technologist, such as, but not limited to clinical biology, microbiology, physiology, pre-medical, medical lab technology, chemistry, immunology, physiology, anatomy; OR, Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university with a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of biology and chemistry (must include credit hours in both); OR, Successful completion of two years of progressively higher level graduate education, leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree, with a major study in an academic field related to health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the position of histopathology technologist, such as clinical biology, microbiology, physiology, pre-medical, medical lab technology, chemistry, immunology, physiology, anatomy. Foreign Education: To be creditable, education completed outside the U.S. must have been submitted to a private organization approved by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) that specializes in the interpretation of foreign educational credentials, and such education must have been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. programs. Certification: Candidates must currently possess the histotechnologist (HTL) certification given by the ASCP Board of Certification. The ASCP requires completion of one of the following for a candidate to be considered "board eligible" to take the certification exam: Successful completion of a histotechnician or histotechnology program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS); OR, One year of full time experience in all of the following: fixation, embedding, microtomy, processing, and staining in a histopathology (clinical, veterinary, industry, or research) laboratory. Exception for Non-Board Certified: Non-board-certified candidates designated by ASCP as "board eligible," who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements, may be given a temporary appointment under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405(c)(2)(B). The appointing official may waive the requirement of certification for a period not to exceed two years for a histopathology technologist working under the direct oversight of a supervisor, lab manager, or qualified individual who can verify technical experience. This exception only applies at the entry level (GS-7). Failure to Obtain Certification: In all cases, non-board-certified histopathology technologists must meet one of the ASCP histotechnologist eligibility routes at the date of their appointment and must actively pursue certification from the date of their appointment. At the time of appointment, the supervisor will provide the histopathology technologist with the written requirement to obtain certification, the date by which the certification must be acquired, and the consequences for not becoming certified by the deadline. Failure to obtain board certification by the prescribed date will result in removal from the histopathology technologist, GS-0601 occupational series and may result in termination of employment. English Language Proficiency. Histopathology Technologists must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f). GRADE REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the basic requirements for employment listed above, the following experience criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates. Histopathology Technologist, GS-7 Experience: None beyond the basic requirements. Assignment: At this level, histopathology technologists serve in developmental positions practicing under close supervision of a supervisor, lab manager, or qualified individual who can verify technical experience. Histopathology Technologist, GS-9 Experience. Must have one year of creditable experience equivalent to the GS-7 grade level, which is directly related to the position to be filled. Assignment. At the full performance level, the histopathology technologist independently performs a full range of routine and specialized tests. Utilize information technology systems to apply histopathology techniques and broad scientific principles from the fields of biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. The histopathology technologist acts as a technical resource, troubleshooting a variety of specialized lab tests, identifying suboptimal issues, and uses independent judgment and resources to resolve concerns. The histopathology technologist ensures goals are met by prioritizing work, as necessary, in times of short staffing, or heavy workload, and by performing simultaneous tasks. The histopathology technologist uses professional skills in applying anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories to perform new or difficult specialized testing methods, such as immunohistochemical, histochemical, and frozen section techniques. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: In addition to the experience or education above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs: (a) Knowledge of laboratory information technology systems and inter-connectivity. (b) Knowledge of histopathology techniques, chemistry, anatomy and physiology principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies sufficient to process specimens, and the ability to perform a full range of routine specialized tests. (c) Ability to identify and test suboptimal specimens and take corrective action to minimize or eliminate impact on a patient's sample. (d) Ability to organize, coordinate, and prioritize simultaneous work assignments; both individual and team related. (e) Skill in applying professional, anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques. 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). English Language Proficiency: Histopathology Technologists must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f). References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G65. 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. ["Duties include, but are not limited to: Receives and/or obtains specimens using appropriate techniques, maintaining proper identification. Performs all elements of gross examination and sectioning of all types of surgical pathology specimens. Prepares specimens for analysis according to the specifications of the procedure. Handles all types of human tissue which may include; receiving, checking, accepting, timing, logging, storing and/or shipping, if necessary. Provides technical guidance to ensure all tissues are properly oriented when embedding them, according to established procedures and depending on the type of specimen being prepared (e.g. shave biopsies on edge; core biopsies to demonstrate the maximum amount of tissue). Processes all cytological specimens including sputa, body secretions, fluids and fine needle aspirates. I Recognizes origin and type of tissues and properly orients and cuts small or complex specimens, choosing appropriate microtome knives and section thickness. Photography of gross specimens and maintenance of a teaching collection of gross and microscopic photographs. Function as assistant to anatomic pathologists by participating in gross autopsy dissection. Prepares frozen tissue sections for special immunological studies which includes; selecting, freezing, cutting (microtomy) and staining Tissue for Frozen Section exam by the pathologist. Employs the cryostat. Teaches and trains other laboratory personnel to perform immunohistochemical and stains. Under the direction of the supervisor maintains QA files of blocks and slides needed to perform special stains and immunohistochemistry stains in the laboratory. Stains tissue sections using special stains as required. able to troubleshoot all problems with special staining procedures and implements changes. Prepares all stains and chemical solutions with a competent, practical knowledge of chemistry. Performs complex immunohistochemical stains and procedures including, but not limited to, special pre-treatment procedures, antigen retrieval, enzymatic digestion, antibody diluting, and titers, immunoflourescence, enzyme immunohistochemistry and frozen section microtomy. Other duties as assigned Work Schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm. Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
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