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Become A Cytogenetic Technologist

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Working As A Cytogenetic Technologist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $64,930

    Average Salary

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.

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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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Cytogenetic Technologist jobs

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Cytogenetic Technologist Demographics

Gender

Female

69.1%

Male

26.2%

Unknown

4.7%
Ethnicity

White

73.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

10.9%

Unknown

2.7%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3%

Arabic

13.3%

Portuguese

6.7%

Vietnamese

6.7%

French

6.7%

Greek

6.7%

Italian

6.7%
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Cytogenetic Technologist Education

Schools

University of Connecticut

14.4%

North Carolina State University

8.9%

Kennesaw State University

7.8%

North Carolina Central University

6.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.6%

University of New Mexico

5.6%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.4%

Johns Hopkins University

4.4%

University of California - Irvine

4.4%

George Mason University

4.4%

University of Florida

3.3%

Campbell University

3.3%

University of Saint Francis

3.3%

Texas Tech University

3.3%

Northern Michigan University

3.3%

University of Iowa

3.3%

University of Texas Health Science San Antonio

3.3%

Northeastern University

3.3%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

3.3%

Santa Fe College

3.3%
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Majors

Biology

41.9%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

8.7%

Genetics

6.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

5.1%

Business

4.3%

Health Care Administration

3.6%

Chemistry

3.6%

Medical Technician

3.2%

Public Health

2.5%

Microbiology

2.5%

Pharmacy

2.5%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.2%

Biotechnology

2.2%

Nursing

2.2%

Psychology

1.8%

Physician Assistant

1.8%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

1.4%

Health Sciences And Services

1.4%

Mental Health Counseling

1.1%

Animal Science

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.1%

Masters

26.4%

Other

9.9%

Doctorate

6.7%

Certificate

5.2%

Associate

2.9%

License

0.6%

Diploma

0.3%
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Real Cytogenetic Technologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cytogenetic Technologist II University of California, San Diego San Diego, CA May 15, 2015 $90,327
Cytogenetic Technologist Miraca Life Sciences, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jun 06, 2014 $85,943
Cytogenetic Technologist Miraca Life Sciences, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jul 18, 2014 $85,943
Cytogenetics Technologist II Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY May 27, 2015 $83,430
Cytogenetic Technologist Miraca Life Sciences, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jun 06, 2014 $75,904
Cytogenetics Technologist Miraca Life Sciences, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jun 07, 2014 $75,904
Clinical Cytogenetics Technologist Phenopath Laboratories, PLLC Seattle, WA Jan 02, 2015 $73,045
Clinical Cytogenetics Technologist Phenopath Laboratories, PLLC Seattle, WA Dec 22, 2014 $73,045
Cytogenetic Technologist I University of California, San Diego San Diego, CA May 15, 2012 $70,837
Cytogenetic Technologist University of California, San Diego San Diego, CA Feb 01, 2011 $68,774
Cytogenetics Technologist II Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY May 01, 2011 $66,847
Cytogenetics Technologist Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Seattle, WA Oct 18, 2016 $66,408
Cytogenetic Technologist III Genzyme Corporation Phoenix, AZ Jun 29, 2010 $65,354 -
$68,053
Cytogenetic Technologist North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System Manhasset, NY Mar 02, 2015 $65,062
Cytogenetics Technologist Trainee Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Nov 13, 2013 $61,979
Cytogenetic Technologist Esoterix Genetic Laboratories LLC New York, NY Oct 08, 2011 $61,942 -
$71,676
Cytogenetics Technologist I Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Oct 09, 2010 $60,078
Cytogenetic Technologists Med2Pharm Health Care Solutions Inc. Bentonville, AR Sep 16, 2016 $60,000
Cytogenetics Technologist Trainee Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Nov 05, 2015 $59,197
Certified Cytogenetics Technologist ARUP Laboratories Salt Lake City, UT Feb 01, 2016 $57,288
Cytogenetic Technologist III Genzyme Corporation Vienna, VA Jan 01, 2010 $56,930 -
$57,000
Cytogenetic Technologist University of Louisville Louisville, KY Sep 01, 2012 $50,000
Cytogenetic Technologist University Pediatric Foundation, Inc. Louisville, KY Jul 05, 2011 $50,000
Cytogenetic Technologist University of Colorado Denver, CO Mar 02, 2016 $50,000
Cytogenetic Technologist Trainee Esoterix Genetic Laboratories LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2011 $49,650 -
$81,494
Cytogenetic Technologist Esoterix Genetic Laboratories LLC New York, NY Sep 19, 2011 $49,650 -
$55,771
Cytogenetic Technologist Genzyme Corporation Phoenix, AZ Sep 24, 2010 $49,639
Cytogenetic Technologist University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Nov 30, 2015 $49,500

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Top Skills for A Cytogenetic Technologist

BoneMarrowSpecimensTissueCultureMicroscopicAnalysisChromosomeAnalysisLaboratoryProceduresAmnioticFluidSamplesCellCultureBiologicalSpecimensSlidePreparationSituHybridizationCytogeneticAnalysisChorionicVilliCVSDiagnoseChromosomalAbnormalitiesDNAOncologySet-UpFluorescenceSolidTumorMicroarray

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Top Cytogenetic Technologist Skills

  1. Bone Marrow Specimens
  2. Tissue Culture
  3. Microscopic Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Analyzed chromosomes for blood but primarily bone marrow specimens looking for numerical and/or structural abnormalities.
  • Served as senior technologist, performed troubleshooting on culture setups and managed tissue culture facility as well as long-term specimen storage.
  • Analyzed chromosomes via microscopic analysis for the detection of constitutional and acquired chromosomal anomalies.
  • Conducted chromosome analysis on amniotic fluid, peripheral blood, bone marrow, and solid tumors.
  • Perform laboratory procedures in accordance to standard operating procedures.

Top Cytogenetic Technologist Employers

Cytogenetic Technologist Videos

Molecular Cytogenetics

Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory

Alumni Perspectives on Further Education Options in Health Care

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