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Average Salary
$56,001
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
29,189
Job Openings

Cytogenetic Technologist Careers

Cytogenetic Technologists work in labs, and they prepare, examine, and analyze chromosomes in a patient's DNA. This helps everyone learn about the relationship between genetics and health. A Cytogenetic Technologist also works as part of a medical team in detecting, analyzing, and interpreting genetic diseases in tissues, blood, and fluid samples. A Cytogenetic Technologist rarely sees patients, but their research is especially important.

To become a Cytogenetic Technologist, you need to gain a four-year bachelor's degree in Cytogenetics technology, biotechnology, biology, or related science. You will probably need certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists or ASCP. You may also need to be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Career opportunities for Cytogenetic Technologists are exceptionally good, and jobs are available in rural and metropolitan areas in diagnostic cytology as well as research education and administration. You will make a median salary of $61,000 per year.

What Does a Cytogenetic Technologist Do

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Duties

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
  • Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
  • Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
  • Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
  • Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
  • Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests; in large laboratories, they sometimes specialize. The following are examples of types of specialized medical laboratory technologists:

Blood bank technologists, or immunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions. 

Clinical chemistry technologists prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids. 

Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells with a microscope for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. 

Immunology technologists examine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies. 

Microbiology technologists examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one particular area. For example, histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists, who are doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians often specialize after they have worked in a particular area for a long time or have received advanced education or training in that area.

How To Become a Cytogenetic Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.

Education

An entry-level job for technologists usually requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences.

A bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Coursework emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and lab management.

The courses may be offered through a university or hospital-based program that students attend during their senior year of college. College graduates who major in other sciences and meet a program’s prerequisites, such as having completed required courses in biology and chemistry or maintaining a certain GPA, also may apply to a medical laboratory science program.

Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.

High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical laboratory sciences should take classes in chemistry, biology, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state departments of health, state boards of occupational licensing, or visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians can obtain a general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or a certification in a specialty, such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most credentialing institutions require that technologists complete an accredited education program in order to qualify to sit for an exam. For more credentialing information, visit the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.

Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.

Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.

Advancement

After additional education, work experience, or certification, technologists and technicians may specialize in one of many areas of laboratory science, such as immunology, histotechnology, or clinical chemistry. Some medical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining experience and additional education.

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Average Salary
$56,001
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
29,189
Job Openings

Cytogenetic Technologist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Cytogenetic Technologist

Top Careers After Cytogenetic Technologist

Cytogenetic Technologist Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Cytogenetic Technologist

Cytogenetic Technologists in America make an average salary of $56,001 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $44,000 per year.
Average Salary
$56,001
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Palo Alto, CA
Salary Range49k - 79k$62k$62,416
Hartford, CT
Salary Range46k - 76k$60k$59,613
New York, NY
Salary Range46k - 75k$59k$59,245
Portland, OR
Salary Range47k - 74k$59k$59,153
Seattle, WA
Salary Range46k - 73k$59k$58,784
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range43k - 71k$56k$55,922
$36k
$79k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Cytogenetics Technologist
Cytogenetics Technologist
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon Health & Science University
05/14/2021
05/14/2021
$64,57205/14/2021
$64,572
Cytogenetic Technologist
Cytogenetic Technologist
University of Wisconsin Madison
University of Wisconsin Madison
05/13/2021
05/13/2021
$45,64305/13/2021
$45,643
Cytogenetic Technologist
Cytogenetic Technologist
University of Wisconsin Madison
University of Wisconsin Madison
05/13/2021
05/13/2021
$45,64305/13/2021
$45,643
Clinic Cytogenetic Technologist
Clinic Cytogenetic Technologist
University of Washington
University of Washington
03/24/2021
03/24/2021
$55,54803/24/2021
$55,548
Cytogenetic Technologist I-Pathology & Immunology-Cytogenetics
Cytogenetic Technologist I-Pathology & Immunology-Cytogenetics
Washington University of St. Louis
Washington University of St. Louis
03/18/2021
03/18/2021
$48,29303/18/2021
$48,293
See More Recent Salaries

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Cytogenetic Technologist Demographics

Gender

female

65.8 %

male

28.9 %

unknown

5.3 %

Ethnicity

White

58.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.6 %

Black or African American

11.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3 %

Arabic

13.3 %

Portuguese

6.7 %
See More Demographics

Cytogenetic Technologist Education

Degrees

Bachelors

81.5 %

Masters

6.9 %

Certificate

4.4 %

Top Colleges for Cytogenetic Technologists

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

3. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

4. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

5. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

6. University of South Florida

Tampa, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,410
Enrollment
31,321

7. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

8. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769

9. Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$40,651
Enrollment
3,495

10. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Cytogenetic Technologist That You May Like

Introduction to the Medical Laboratory
ed2go

Learn key skills needed to become a medical laboratory professional and play a vital role in the healthcare system...

DNA Decoded
coursera

Are you a living creature? Then, congratulations! You've got DNA. But how much do you really know about the microscopic molecules that make you unique? Why is DNA called the "blueprint of life"? What is a "DNA fingerprint"? How do scientists clone DNA? What can DNA teach you about your family history? Are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) safe? Is it possible to revive dinosaurs by cloning their DNA? DNA Decoded answers these questions and more. If you're curious about DNA, join Felicia Vulc...

Teaching in University Science Laboratories (Developing Best Practice)
coursera

This course is developed to improve the effectiveness of laboratory classes in higher education. It aims to support teachers to improve their teaching skills for active learning in university science laboratory courses. It will show you how laboratory sessions can differ with respect to their aim and expected learning outcomes, how to engage students for learning and how to cope with their different levels of pre-knowledge and experience and probe their understanding. Last but not least it will...

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Top Skills For a Cytogenetic Technologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.6% of cytogenetic technologists listed ascp on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and technical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Cytogenetic Technologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a cytogenetic technologist. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon. Cytogenetic technologists make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $60,038. Whereas in Connecticut and Massachusetts, they would average $59,569 and $59,497, respectively. While cytogenetic technologists would only make an average of $59,395 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Cytogenetic Technologist Jobs:
425
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Cytogenetic Technologist Jobs:
1,923
Highest 10% Earn:
$94,000
Location Quotient:
1.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maine

Total Cytogenetic Technologist Jobs:
349
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
1.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Cytogenetic Technologist Employers

1. Genzyme
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$59,770
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
79+
2. Laboratory Corporation of America
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$51,973
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
42+
3. Quest Diagnostics
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$53,048
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
42+
4. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$49,258
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
28+
5. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$70,590
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
15+
6. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$67,492
Cytogenetic Technologists Hired: 
14+

Cytogenetic Technologist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020