Veterans Health Administration - Department of Veterans Affairs
Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Must be a citizen of the United States. 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: (1) 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, (2) 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, (3) 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. (1) Candidates must currently possess the histo-technologist (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: (a) Successful completion of a histo-technician or histo-technology program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS); OR, (b) 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. A copy of this board certification must be submitted with your application packet. English Language Proficiency. Histopathology technologists must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. 7403(f). Physical Standards. Must pass a pre-employment examination. See below for additional information. Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements above, all applicants must also meet the following grade requirements for a specific grade level. Histopathology Technologist, GS-11
(1) Education and Experience. Must meet one of the following:(a) One year of creditable experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level, which is directly related to the position to be filled; or(b) Three full years of progressively higher-level graduate education that included a clinical practicum; or(c) A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in histopathology technology or a directly related field that included a clinical practicum.(2) Assignment. 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. At the advanced level, the histopathology technologist independently performs a full range of specialized tests, applying histopathology techniques and broad scientific principles from the fields of biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. Must be able to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot instrumentation utilized while preparing specimens for diagnosis; perform advanced procedures and analysis of tissue samples; and guide staff in the preparation of the most difficult specimens. Act as a technical resource, troubleshooting a variety of specialized lab tests, identifying suboptimal issues, and using independent judgment and resources to resolve concerns. Organize, coordinate, and prioritize work assignments. The histopathology technologist uses professional skills in applying complex anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques. At the advanced level, the histopathology technologists introduce new tests, including stain protocol research, test protocol setup, validation testing, and record-keeping and documentation. Utilize information technology to perform tasks related to histotechnology. In addition to histochemical and immunohistochemistry(IHC) testing, the technologist is responsible for advanced testing including, but not limited to, fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), chromogenic in-situ hybridization(CISH), and gross dissection, as dictated by the lab’s needs. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience or education above, the candidate must demonstrate all the following KSAs:
(a) Knowledge of histopathology techniques, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies sufficient to process specimens and perform a full range of routine and specialized test.
(b) Knowledge of the operation and maintenance of the instrumentation necessary to prepare specimens for diagnosis.
(c) Skill in applying professional, complex anatomic pathology principles, practices, concepts, and theories in performing new or difficult specialized testing methods or techniques.
(d) Ability to identify and test suboptimal specimens and take corrective action to minimize or eliminate the impact on patient’s sample.
(e) Ability to organize, coordinate, and prioritize simultaneous work assignments, both individual and team related.
(k) Knowledge of laboratory information technology systems and inter-connectivity.
(g) *Skill in performing detailed Mohs procedures(h) **Ability to perform ultrathin microtomy, and operate an electron microscope. Knowledge of microanatomy sufficient to note ultrastructural and microchemical finding.
(i)***Ability to convey knowledge of safety regulations and guidelines from organizations such as College of American Pathologists (CAP), The Joint Commission (TJC), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to ensure staff compliance with safety requirements, including continuing education and employee orientation.
(j) ****Skill in planning and administering an ongoing continuing education program for the laboratory to meet accreditation standards.
(k)*****Skill in maintaining and troubleshooting computers and laboratory system instrumentation. Reference: VA Handbook 5005/118, Part II, Appendix G65, Histopathology Technologist Qualification Standard Preferred Experience: Experience with MOHS Surgical Procedures 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-11 to GS-11. Physical Requirements: Subject to pre-employment physical. The work requires manual dexterity, visual acuity, color vision, regular and recurring physical exertion, repetitive motions, climbing stairs, standing for long periods of time, and lifting of moderately heavy (10 to 40 pounds) reagent containers and supplies. There is a moderate risk of stress and mental pressure associated with high volumes and demand for accuracy and timeliness. The laboratory work environment is one in which the histopathology technologist works with potentially infectious materials, hazardous/irritant chemicals, hazardous biologic materials, and use of sharp microtome and scalpel blades. Strict adherence to general safety and infection control guidelines is mandatory
The Histopathology Technologist is responsible for performing a wide range of routine, complex, and specialized testing procedures from the fields of biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology.