Those who become cytotechnologists must first hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Then graduation from an accredited cytotechnology program is required.
Most cytotechnology programs include completion of 28 credits in science, including biology and chemistry. Each institution will establish the length of its program based on its organizational structure. In general, a program will require one calendar year of formal education.
A cytotechnology course of study will generally include:
The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:
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Graduates of an accredited program will have the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate a variety of cytologic preparations. Upon successful completion of a certification examination, the graduate will become a certified cytotechnologist.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASPC) administers the Cytology (CT) certification exam for aspiring cytopathologists. It involves a 2.5 hour exam covering 100 questions encompassing four areas of cytotechnology, including:
The exam progressively becomes more difficult as the test taker answers questions correctly and continues to increase in difficulty until a wrong answer is submitted.
Click here for more information and the ASPC certification examination outline.