Bethesda, Maryland
Oct 23, 2021
Required Education
High School or equivalent
Position Type
Full time

We are currently searching for a Histotechnician to provide support to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This opportunity is a full-time position with MSC, and it is on-site in Bethesda, MD.


Duties & Responsibilities
  • Perform specimen processing and test performance of moderate to high complex tests.
  • Follow laboratory’s procedures for specimen handling and processing, test analyses, reporting and maintaining records of patient test results.
  • Maintain records that demonstrate that proficiency testing samples are tested in the same manner as patient specimens; adhere to laboratory’s quality control policies; document all quality control activities; perform instrument and procedural calibrations and maintenance.
  • Follow the laboratory’s established policies and procedures whenever test systems are not within the laboratory's established acceptable levels of performance; identify problems that may adversely affect test performance or reporting of test results and either correct the problems or immediately notify the Team Leader or Chief of the section; document all corrective actions taken when test systems deviate from established performance specifications.
  • Accession tissue samples and review bone marrow specimens received via the Soft Path computer system in the department; review associated documentation and computer orders before accessioning to make sure those necessary elements are present for the acceptance of the specimen.
  • Follow laboratory’s procedures for specimen handling and processing, test analyses, reporting and maintaining records of patient test results.
  • Detect problems and attempt to resolve any issue related to accessioning the specimen, including contacting a pathologist or healthcare provider for additional information.
  • Select appropriate histology techniques for preparing the patient samples according to the quality and quantity of the specimen and the patient’s       clinical information.
  • Label forms and specimen containers with the assigned Soft Path number; select the correct processing protocol for each case; prepare the necessary number of cassettes with the patient identification number to assist the pathologist with grossing and processing of tissue specimens.
  • Process or advice on the processing of all specimens while controlling physical conditions and responding to time factors to verify that the physiological state of the specimens is maintained to ensure high quality microscopic examination.
  • Communicate and consult with pertinent medical personnel regarding collection procedures.  
  • Register the specimen in the accessioning logbook and interact with the Resident or Pathologists in the handling of the specimen.
  • Trouble shoots any problems with the specimen or documentation, including calling the pathologist when orders or forms are not received with the    specimen.
  • Interact with residents in training on a constant basis to let them know about problems or handling of specimens based on their professional judgment (e.g., if specimens arrive without fixative); advise residents and pathologists on technical decisions such as proper fixative to use or when specimens need decalcification.
  • Perform tissue processing using the automatic tissue processing system.
  • Perform routine maintenance on tissue processors; troubleshoot machine problems.
  • Use tissue embedding centers to embed human tissue sections according to the established procedure which require experience with the embedding center components, proper type of paraffin for processing and embedding and the ability to troubleshoot problems.
  • Ensure that specimen identification and the integrity of the samples are present throughout the process.
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOP) and use knowledge of basic sciences to prepare accurate chemical reagents used during tissue processing which are critical for the good preservation of human tissue specimens and for future testing and storage.
  • File paraffin blocks and slides protecting the integrity of these files according to departmental policies.
  • Serve as a technical resource in the area of histopathology.
  • Provide histological preparations required for pathologists to discern the nature and extent of disease in bone marrow specimens that are from within NIH or those submitted from other hospitals for consultation in establishing or confirming a diagnosis.
  • Perform microtomy, cutting tissue sections in a range of 3 to 25 microns from paraffin blocks; preserve the high quality of the tissue section.  
  • Use the different types of microtomes and troubleshooting techniques to avoid technical artifacts while cutting paraffin blocks and drying paraffin sections.
  • Master minor microtome repairs and maintain all instrument documentation, such as maintenance, temperature and changing reagents and solutions.
  • Communicate effectively with the Team Leader and Section Chief regarding the status of operations; seek guidance to resolve problems as necessary.      
  • Accession and process patient materials submitted as part of the Consultation Service.
  • Accurately account for accessioned material (e.g., ensure an accurate count and description of submitted slides and paraffin blocks and appropriate labeling, based on medical record reports and other documentation from the submitting hospital).
  • Make independent decisions, per guidelines and policies, on how to process these specimens and order routine tests if needed and interact with the resident or pathologist to determine priority and special procedures, such as additional recuts or special stains.
  • Perform routine Hematoxylin & Eosin staining manually or with automatic stainer.
  • Conduct daily changing and maintenance of staining solutions and running appropriate controls.
  • Perform or advise on special stain techniques on tissue and cytological material utilizing proper control tissues and stains for demonstrating specific tissue/cellular constituents or pathogens.
  • Perform microscopic review of slides to verify interpretation of controls and expected staining results.
  • Document control results and identify quality assurance issues; correct problem areas that result in inadequately/improperly stained specimens.
  • Identify cellular and non-cellular constituents of histological specimens and recognize cellular morphology as a result of procurement and preparation techniques (e.g., poor fixation, over staining, grossing errors, floaters).
  • Operate, program and troubleshoot automatic strainers.
  • Perform both manually and automatic coverslipping techniques; both simple and highly complex special stains to demonstrate different type of tissue structures, micro-organisms, and minerals according to the special stains procedure manual; enzyme histochemical and immunohistochemical reactions.
  • Perform calculations and the preparation of all reagents used in the special stain section with detailed attention in the weight of reagent, concentrations, pH, dilutions and stability of chemicals and substrates.
  • Manage all aspects of laboratory safety.
  • When handling hazardous materials, use appropriate protective clothing or gear, follow associated safety policies and procedures including those related to biosafety and chemical hazards including the chemical hygiene program, universal precautions, and tuberculosis exposure control plan.
  • Utilize knowledge of the Chemical Hygiene and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); maintain a clean work environment and promote safety in the laboratory.
  • Organize daily workload based on priorities, rotation schedule and needs of the lab and patients; ensure that certain specimens which must be processed the same day are handled promptly.
  • Play a critical role in performing and adhering to Quality Control, Quality Assurance, and Quality Improvement (QC/QA/QI) policies and procedures.
  • Check the positive control and the unknown slides after the staining method is finished to ensure that the result is correct.
  • Monitor, troubleshoot and initiate or take corrective action to maintain stain quality, including detection of reagent problem, equipment malfunction, or need to replace reagents.
  • Perform quality assessment and quality control (QC) activities.
  • Coordinate with the Team Leader on these issues.
  • Consult with staff and exercise independent initiative when evaluating or developing new techniques.
  • Perform regular reviews of literature, bulletins, newsletters, journals and the Internet for updated requirements to evaluate and modify procedures; maintain compliance and improve quality; determine feasibility of new technology and contacting vendors for demonstrations of comparable and contrasting methods.
  • Perform comparative studies with older technology when implementing new technology or modifying procedures or technology for laboratory or clinical needs.
  • Perform evaluations to determine guidelines for changes or modification of procedures, the operation of new equipment- (i.e., the quality control program and a program of periodic preventative maintenance/function checks) or   development of new innovative procedures.
  • Ensure compliance with Federal laws, regulations and guidelines, as well as State and agency requirements.    
  • Play a crucial role in carrying out departmental policies, complying with the CAP, JCAHO, and CLIA guidelines and adhering to the Government general standard rules and regulations.
  • Ensure compliance with accrediting and inspections agency requirements   participating in activities associated with the lab accreditation process.
  • Instruct new resident pathology physicians who have had no laboratory experience in histopathology techniques, explaining proper blocking, fixation and decalcification techniques.
  • Teach histopathology theory, cellular morphology and specimen preparation to peers, new employee residents in the form of one-on-one microscopic   sessions and demonstrations.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Life Sciences or a related discipline. Four (4) years of specialized experience plus a High School diploma is equivalent to a BA/BS degree.
  • Minimum of Three (3) years’ of experience in biology or a related field.
  • HT (ASCP) certification with three (3) of related experience.
  • Minimum of five (5) years of experience in histology and immunohistochemistry in addition to the previous requirement.
  • Experience with Ventana BenchMark Ultras.
  • Experience in working with the following equipment: Ventana BenchMark Ultra and Venata Nexes Special Stainer.
  • Knowledge of dual staining, ISH.
  • Experience cutting bone marrow biopsies.
  • Ability to pass required cutting test.
  • Comply with all applicable federal and state government regulations regarding infectious disease control.
  • Ability to maintain accurate records of experimental methods and write preliminary drafts of reports.
  • Knowledge of proper laboratory disposal methods and safety procedures.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (MS Word, Excel, Outlook).
  • Strong communications skills, both oral and written.
  • Excellent analytical, organizational, problem-solving, interpersonal and time management skills.



Due to our contractual requirements and federal orders, including an Executive Order from the White House and an emergency regulation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the position for which you are applying requires that you provide proof of your vaccination status. If you are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons or because of a sincerely held religious belief, you may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement which shall be reviewed after the submission of requested documentation. If an accommodation is granted, the conditions may include weekly testing and masking. All Guidehouse employees also agree to follow any additional health and safety mitigation policies that may be required in the workplace.




Company Description

We are a trusted government partner that blends deep domain expertise with advanced technologies to help our customers solve complex problems that improve, protect, and save lives. As a rapidly growing company, we combine entrepreneurial spirit, customer focus, and an outcomes-based approach to support agency missions in health IT, life sciences, public safety, and grants management.


The Dovel Family of Companies offers employees an opportunity to advance beyond a specific role or contract, we offer a path to develop an enriching career. We believe in empowering a culture of innovation, customer success, and employee growth. 


What you’ll get…

  • Time Off! Flexible schedules and company paid holidays allow you to take the time you need.
  • Investment in YOU! 401(K) company contributions are yours to keep with no waiting period.
  • Choices! Unique healthcare plans to choose from with options like fertility and orthodontia benefits.
  • Discovery! With our tuition assistance and training programs, we support your career advancement.
  • Tax Savings! Enroll in pre-tax Health or Dependent Care Flexible Spending, HSA with company contributions, parking, and/or transit commuter benefits.
  • Support! Working parents and busy professionals – we’ve got you covered with a supportive culture, confidential Employee Assistance Program and a membership to Care.com.
  • Perks! Employee discounts, peer recognition programs, company-wide wellness challenges, and fun community events.
  • A Voice! A unique culture where you can influence decisions and have your voice heard.




We are an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity. All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or veteran status.