Cytotechnologist - How to Become a Cytotechnologist

Cytotechnologist

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Cytotechnologist Job Description

 

The study of cells and cellular anomalies are the domain of cytotechnologist laboratory professionals. They examine slides of human cells, using microscopes to look for any indication of abnormal growth or disease, such as cancerous or precancerous cells, infectious bacteria or viruses or inflammatory processes. The cytotechnologist plays a vital role in the identification of a disease while it is still in a treatable stage. This early detection gives patients an improved probability of recovery.

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Responsibilities

 

Potentially infected or diseased cell specimens are collected from various sites on the body, including the lungs, female reproductive tract or digestive system. They are then fixed on slides using special techniques that allow the cytotechnologist to examine them microscopically. The cytotechnologist makes note of cellular changes that may indicate disease, then submits a report to a pathologist for a final evaluation.

Pathologists use the reports of the cytotechnologist to diagnose and recommend treatment for specific diseases. In many cases, this can be done long before the disease process could be detected otherwise. An example is the use of fine needles to aspirate lesions, even when they are located deeply inside the body. This procedure has greatly enhanced the ability to locate and diagnose tumors found in previously inaccessible sites.

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Skills

 

A mastery of the sciences, strong problem-solving skills, and decisive decision-making abilities are vital for a successful career in cytology. They must be able to endure long stretches of time in a laboratory setting, working on the microscopic level, and must be able to work alone or as part of a team. 

Cytotechnologists must possess strong skills with computers and programs like Microsoft Excel, as well as a deep understanding of diagnostic methodology, equipment, and technologies.

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Working Conditions

 

Cytotechnologists usually find employment in hospitals or commercial laboratories. Those with experience may find opportunities to work in private industry or in research, supervisory and teaching positions. Some cytotechnologists work independently to evaluate and report on normal cells, or may work in close collaboration with a pathologist to examine cells for disease or abnormal growth.

Geographic location plays a part in the employment opportunities and the salary ranges available to cytotechnologists. But the demand for these professionals is growing and is expected to continue growing into the future.

 


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How to Become an Cytotechnologist:

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

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:

  • Statistics and/or mathematics

  • Study of and demonstration of the scientific method of inquiry

  • Laboratory operations

  • Basic laboratory techniques

  • Cytologic procedures and technologies

  • Ancillary testing and related technologies

  • Screening and interpretation

  • Professional development

 

The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:

 

Grade Level

Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • Biology I & Lab

  • Biology II & Lab

  • General Chemistry I & Lab

  • General Chemistry II & Lab

  • Foundations of Medical Laboratory Science I & Lab

  • Pre-Calculus

  • English 101

  • English 102

  • Humanities Requirement/Electives

Sophomore Year

  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab

  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab

  • Human Anatomy

  • Physiology

  • Calculus I

  • Calculus II

  • Humanities Requirement/Electives

Junior Year

 

  • Medical Immunology

  • Medical Microbiology

  • Statistics I

  • Molecular Biology I & Lab

  • Medical Bacteriology I & Lab

  • Health Care Ethics

  • Humanities Requirement/Electives

Senior Year

  • Foundations of Cytology

  • Respiratory and Oral Cytology

  • Body Fluid Cytology

  • Gastrointestinal & Genitourinary Cytology

  • Female Genital Tract

  • Fine Needle Aspiration

  • Processing Laboratory Practicum

  • Advanced Cytology Practices

  • Remaining Electives

 

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.

 

2. Earn the Required Certification

 

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:

  • Gynecological Cytology 

  • Non-Gynecological Cytology (Respiratory System, Genitourinary System, Body Cavity Fluids)

  • Fine Needle Aspiration

  • Laboratory Operations

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.

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.05.2016
- Bachelors degree is required - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's Cytology is seeking a full time...
12.05.2016
Bachelors Degree Summary The Cytotechnologist provides excellent customer service and works closely with co-workers to meet the needs of the pathologists, physicians and patients. Responsible for assisting in the collection of cytological...
08.04.2016
Memorial Medical Center is looking for an engaged, enthusiastic cytotechnologist (or certification eligible) by the ASCP Board of Certification, especially with experience in rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) in some capacity, to join our rapidly...
12.05.2016
The Cytotechnologist performs microscopic screening and diagnosis of gynecological and miscellaneous specimens. The Cytotechnologist assists in collection and preparation of fine needle aspiration specimens. The Cytotechnologist performs...
12.05.2016
Under supervision, receives, prepares and microscopically screens specimens of body fluids and other cellular materials in order to detect the presence of cancer and other pathological conditions. Maintains records, performs related clerical...
12.09.2016
DescriptionCytotechnologist
12.05.2016
The Cytotechnologist performs microscopic screening and diagnosis of gynecological and miscellaneous specimens. The Cytotechnologist assists in collection and preparation of fine needle aspiration specimens. The Cytotechnologist performs...
12.05.2016
- Cytotechnologist UC Medical Center Pathology (037997) Job Description Cytotechnologist UC Medical Center Pathology(Job Number: 037997) Description General Description of the Job Evaluates cellular specimens microscopically to detect...
12.08.2016
Prepares and screens cells from a variety of sources for the presence of malignancy or other pathological conditions with minimal technical supervision. Participates in cytology quality assurance program. Assists with fine needle aspirations and...
12.09.2016
Department: DLMPA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: Cytotechnologists are responsible for the screening and reporting of negative gynecological and non-gynecological cytology cases, and identifying and referring abnormal cases to the...
12.05.2016
Responsible for receiving, preparing and evaluating patient cytological specimens for cancerous and non-malignant changes. Models appropriate behavior as exemplified in The Methodist Mission, Vision and Values.
12.05.2016
Internal job applications/transfer requests must be completed through the Ascension Health Associate Portal in order to be processed. Assistance for the disabled If you have a disability and/or require assistance completing the online...
12.05.2016
SUMMARY The Cytologist participates in specialized and complex technical tasks involved in the processing and screening of cytologic specimens to detect evidence of cancer or other pathological conditions, ensuring the efficient and accurate...
12.09.2016
Department: Laboratory Cytology LabA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: Laboratory professional who wants to affect change and be part of an emerging department in the electronic laboratory setting. Our laboratory performs over 800,000 tests...
  1. Cytotechnologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Bachelors degree is required - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's Cytology is seeking a full time...
  2. Cytotechnologist Fort Wayne, IN Parkview Health
    Bachelors Degree Summary The Cytotechnologist provides excellent customer service and works closely with co-workers to meet the needs of the pathologists, physicians and patients. Responsible for assisting in the collection of cytological...
  3. Cytotechnologist Springfield, IL Memorial Health System
    Memorial Medical Center is looking for an engaged, enthusiastic cytotechnologist (or certification eligible) by the ASCP Board of Certification, especially with experience in rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) in some capacity, to join our rapidly...
  4. Cytotechnologist - Evenings - Cytology New Orleans, LA Ochsner Health System
    The Cytotechnologist performs microscopic screening and diagnosis of gynecological and miscellaneous specimens. The Cytotechnologist assists in collection and preparation of fine needle aspiration specimens. The Cytotechnologist performs...
  5. Cytotechnologist Newark, OH Licking Memorial Health Systems
    Under supervision, receives, prepares and microscopically screens specimens of body fluids and other cellular materials in order to detect the presence of cancer and other pathological conditions. Maintains records, performs related clerical...
  6. Cytotechnologist Oklahoma City, OK St. Anthony Hospital
    DescriptionCytotechnologist
  7. Cytotechnologist - CT - Full Time - Evenings New Orleans, LA Ochsner Health System
    The Cytotechnologist performs microscopic screening and diagnosis of gynecological and miscellaneous specimens. The Cytotechnologist assists in collection and preparation of fine needle aspiration specimens. The Cytotechnologist performs...
  8. Cytotechnologist UC Medical Center Pathology West Chester, OH West Chester Hospital
    - Cytotechnologist UC Medical Center Pathology (037997) Job Description Cytotechnologist UC Medical Center Pathology(Job Number: 037997) Description General Description of the Job Evaluates cellular specimens microscopically to detect...
  9. Cytotechnologist - PRN - 2nd - CMC Main Charlotte, NC Carolinas HealthCare System
    Prepares and screens cells from a variety of sources for the presence of malignancy or other pathological conditions with minimal technical supervision. Participates in cytology quality assurance program. Assists with fine needle aspirations and...
  10. Cytotechnologist - Cytopathology Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: DLMPA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: Cytotechnologists are responsible for the screening and reporting of negative gynecological and non-gynecological cytology cases, and identifying and referring abnormal cases to the...
  11. Cytotechnologist - Lab, Cytology (Full Time) Memphis, TN Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
    Responsible for receiving, preparing and evaluating patient cytological specimens for cancerous and non-malignant changes. Models appropriate behavior as exemplified in The Methodist Mission, Vision and Values.
  12. Cytotechnologist II / Regional Medical Lab - Tulsa, OK / FT Days Tulsa, OK St. John Health System
    Internal job applications/transfer requests must be completed through the Ascension Health Associate Portal in order to be processed. Assistance for the disabled If you have a disability and/or require assistance completing the online...
  13. Lab Cytologist Urbana, IL Carle Foundation
    SUMMARY The Cytologist participates in specialized and complex technical tasks involved in the processing and screening of cytologic specimens to detect evidence of cancer or other pathological conditions, ensuring the efficient and accurate...
  14. Cytology Specialist-Laboratory Cytology Lab Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: Laboratory Cytology LabA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: Laboratory professional who wants to affect change and be part of an emerging department in the electronic laboratory setting. Our laboratory performs over 800,000 tests...