Veterans Health Administration - Department of Veterans Affairs
Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education: Individuals must meet one of the requirements below: 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. For grade levels at or above the full performance level GS-9, the candidate must have HTL certification. Temporary appointments of non-board-certified histopathology technologists may not be extended beyond 2 years or be converted to a new temporary appointment. 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. Loss of Certification: Employees who fail to maintain the required certification must be removed from the histopathology technologist, GS-0601 occupation, which 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). 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). Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for employment listed above, the following experience criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates. 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. 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: Knowledge of laboratory information technology systems and inter-connectivity. 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. Ability to identify and test suboptimal specimens and take corrective action to minimize or eliminate impact on a patient’s sample. Ability to organize, coordinate, and prioritize simultaneous work assignments; both individual and team related. Skill in applying professional, anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques. References: VA Handbook 5005/118 PART II APPENDIX G65 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-9. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-7 to GS-9. Physical Requirements: See VA Directive and Handbook 5019.
As crucial members of the Memphis Pathology and Laboratory Medicine service, histopathology technologists possess broad knowledge of biological sciences and the skills necessary to process anatomic pathology specimens. Salary Ranges by grade are as follows: GS-7- $46,696 – $60,703 GS-9- $57,118 – $74,250