Histopathology Technologists possess broad knowledge of biological sciences and the skills necessary to process anatomic pathology specimens. Their work is vital for Pathologists to interpret biopsy samples and render diagnoses that allow for planning appropriate and life-saving treatments. Entry level histopathology technicians serve under close supervision, while full performance level histopathology technicians independently perform a full range of routine and specialized tests. 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, premedical, medical lab technology, chemistry, immunology, physiology, anatomy. 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). This exception only applies at the entry level (GS-7). For grade levels at or above the full performance level (GS-9 and up), the candidate must have HTL certification. Grade Determinations: GS-7 None beyond basic requirements Grade Determinations: GS-9 Must have one year of creditable experience equivalent to the GS-7 grade level, which is directly related to the position to be filled. Candidates at this grade level must also demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and abilities (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. Preferred Experience: Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university with a combination of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) in biology and chemistry, successful completion of a NAACLS accredited Histotechnician or Histotechnologist program, and ASCP Certification as either Histotechnologist, HTL(ASCP) or Histotechnician, HT(ASCP). Hospital laboratory experience with Fixation, Processing, Embedding, Microtomy, and Staining, 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: The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion such as long periods of standing, bending over microscope, reaching for supplies or material, and lifting moderately heavy items such as centrifuges and record boxes (or occasionally lifting heavier items such as reagent packs). The work may require specific physical characteristics and abilities such as dexterity (to perform intricate collection or analysis procedures) and color vision. ["The duties of the Histopathology Technologist include, but are not limited to: Receives and assesses 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. 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. Is present in Radiology to prepare smears, cytological specimens for cyto preparation and cellblocks, and to determine if any tissue or bone is present for fixation in formalin. Determines whether specimens need concentration or dilution and prepares slides using filter technique or other method. Stains cytological specimens separately and performs special stains when required. Recognizes origin and type of tissues and properly orients and cuts small or complex specimens, choosing appropriate microtome knives and section thickness. Functions as Autopsy Prosector, prepares bodies for post-mortem examination, maintains morgue and instruments, releases bodies to funeral homes following proper procedures. Prepares frozen tissue sections for special immunological studies which include; selecting, freezing, cutting (microtomy) and staining tissue for frozen section exam by the pathologist. Stains tissue sections using special stains as required, including, but not limited to Acid Fast, Alcian Blue, Congo Red, Iron, Methenamine Silver, PAS-Schiff, and Trichrome. Incumbent should know which stain to employ to demonstrate tissue elements and properties and be able to interpret positive controls used for these procedures. The incumbent examines the slides microscopically and accepts or rejects them on the basis of proper staining reaction within the control slides. The incumbent is able to troubleshoot all problems with special staining procedures and implements changes. All decisions involving tissue preparation for light microscopy are determined through experience and knowledge of histopathology. Prepares all stains and chemical solutions with a competent, practical knowledge of chemistry. This includes alteration and standardization of pH and concentration of the solutions, reagents, buffers and stains. Performs complex immunohistochemical stains and procedures including, but not limited to, special pre-treatment procedures, antigen retrieval, enzymatic digestion, antibody diluting, and titers. Troubleshoots and corrects problems with these procedures and maintains records and QA data as necessary. Is responsible for evaluating and implementing new equipment and ordering supplies. Prepares, maintains and operates instruments according to directions. Keeps a log of preventative maintenance, temperature checks, instrument problems, etc. Recognizes instrument or equipment malfunction or trends, initiates corrective action when necessary. Refers to Operational Manual or other available information, if indicated. Performs Quality Control checks on reagents, procedures and equipment: evaluates results. When data is suspected to be erroneous, investigates for obvious procedural or instrument faults and alerts the supervisor. Alerts appropriate personnel (supervisor, physician, and pathologist) to critical or significantly abnormal results. Investigates and resolves problems related to surgical pathology. Assists in the compiling of laboratory data for required statistical reports. Performs SNOMED code searches of VISTA database to identify blocks and tissues from cases to be used as positive controls for staining procedures. The incumbent keeps cut sections from such cases to test reactivity of stains and examines the control slides to decide whether the slides are acceptable for diagnostic evaluation. Exercises all required safety guidelines and works with great care in handling the specimens and uses personal protective equipment including face shields, masks, gloves, and laboratory coats. Observes safety regulations, maintains a clean and neat work area. Participates in Performance Improvement Projects as assigned Work Schedule: Monday-Friday; 5:00am - 1:30pm, 6:00 am - 2:30 pm or 7:30am -4pm Compressed/Flexible: Not Authorized Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: 629-00334-F and 629-00335-F Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized PCS Appraised Value Offer (AVO): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
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