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Become A Cytotechnologist

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Working As A Cytotechnologist

  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cytotechnologist 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 Cytotechnologist

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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Cytotechnologist Demographics

Gender

Female

64.8%

Male

26.2%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

59.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

9.7%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.0%

Polish

10.0%

Arabic

10.0%

Portuguese

5.0%

Chinese

5.0%

Ukrainian

5.0%

Igbo

5.0%

French

5.0%

Belarusian

5.0%

Russian

5.0%
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Cytotechnologist Education

Schools

Thomas Jefferson University

11.9%

University of Rhode Island

10.3%

Michigan State University

8.8%

Old Dominion University

8.2%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

6.7%

University of Tennessee-Health Science Center

5.2%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

4.6%

Wayne State University

4.1%

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4.1%

Eastern Kentucky University

4.1%

University of Alabama

3.6%

Loma Linda University

3.6%

University of Louisville

3.6%

California State University - Dominguez Hills

3.6%

University of Connecticut

3.1%

Central Piedmont Community College

3.1%

University of Utah

3.1%

George Washington University

3.1%

Albany College of Pharmacy

2.6%

State University of New York Upstate Medical University

2.6%
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Majors

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

42.8%

Biology

19.3%

Business

7.2%

Nursing

3.3%

Health Sciences And Services

3.3%

Health Care Administration

3.0%

Medical Technician

3.0%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.6%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

2.5%

Medicine

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Medical Clinical Sciences

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Chemistry

1.2%

Medical Assisting Services

1.2%

Microbiology

1.0%

Information Systems

1.0%

Biotechnology

1.0%

Elementary Education

0.8%

Physician Assistant

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.9%

Masters

23.1%

Other

13.2%

Certificate

11.9%

Associate

5.5%

Doctorate

2.9%

Diploma

1.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$37,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$168,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
IU Health
Highest Paying City
Rochester, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
8.4 years
How much does a Cytotechnologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cytotechnologist in the United States is $79,589 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $169,000.

Real Cytotechnologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cytotechnologist Sutter West Bay Hospitals San Francisco, CA Feb 01, 2010 $91,724
Cytotechnologist Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings Monrovia, CA Oct 28, 2013 $74,506 -
$80,839
Cytotechnologist Sunrise Medical Laboratories Hicksville, NY Sep 21, 2012 $74,000
Cytotechnologist Westcliff Medical Laboratories Monrovia, CA Aug 01, 2010 $72,557
Cytotechnologist Clincal Laboratory Services, Inc. Hicksville, NY Oct 01, 2012 $72,488
Cytotechnologist Sunrise Medical Laboratories Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2009 $68,640
Cytotechnologist Greater Baltimore Medical Center Towson, MD Jun 03, 2014 $66,784
Cytotechnologist Legacy Health System Portland, OR Mar 30, 2011 $66,450
Cytotechnologist Edward W. Sparrow Hospital Association Lansing, MI Jul 15, 2016 $65,448
Cytotechnologist New York University School of Medicine New York, NY Jan 11, 2010 $65,385
Cytotechnologist New York University Hospitals Center New York, NY Jan 11, 2010 $65,385
Cytotechnologist Labwest Inc. Monrovia, CA Oct 28, 2010 $64,958 -
$72,557
Cytotechnologist Labwest Inc. Monrovia, CA Sep 01, 2010 $64,958 -
$72,557
Cytotechnologist Legacy Health System Portland, OR Mar 08, 2010 $63,090
Cytotechnologist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Syosset, NY Sep 19, 2012 $59,654 -
$73,112
Cytotechnologist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Teterboro, NJ Sep 15, 2012 $55,182 -
$94,536
Cytotechnologist Greater Baltimore Medical Center Baltimore, MD Jan 25, 2016 $54,246
Cytotechnologist Mid-Columbia Medical Center The Dalles, OR Sep 02, 2014 $51,424
Cytotechnologist Detroit Medical Center Detroit, MI Jan 01, 2011 $50,443
Cytotechnologist University Laboratories, Inc. Detroit, MI Jan 01, 2011 $50,443
Cytotechnologist Detroit Medical Center Detroit, MI Oct 01, 2010 $50,443
Cytotechnologist Detroit Medical Center Detroit, MI Nov 15, 2010 $50,443
Cytotechnologist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Teterboro, NJ Sep 03, 2010 $48,752 -
$32
Cytotechnologist Rochester General Hospital Rochester, NY Nov 14, 2016 $48,422 -
$52,000

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Top Skills for A Cytotechnologist

  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Pathology Residents
  3. Cytology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained regular maintenance of laboratory and laboratory equipment.
  • Provided technical and educational guidance to peers, pathology residents, and cytology students.
  • Conducted clinical applications consisting of Pap smear screening, fine needle aspiration biopsy and cytology preparations and clerical work.
  • Performed various department duties including accessioning/processing specimens and assistance with FNA biopsies.
  • Develop capital requests, participate in laboratory and pathologist operation meetings, maintain procedure manuals and perform CAP inspections.

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Top 10 Best States for Cytotechnologists

  1. Connecticut
  2. Alaska
  3. New York
  4. Delaware
  5. New Jersey
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Nevada
  9. Oregon
  10. Ohio
  • (10 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)

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