Cytotechnologists typically work in hospitals or scientific laboratories and specialize in cell research. They collect and analyze samples, perform tests, and share findings with the medical community. They generally work as laboratory technologists in large, specialized facilities and perform advanced tests requested by physicians and surgeons. Typical duties include:
Preparing slides of cells
Analyzing cells for abnormalities that indicate cancer
Using complex laboratory equipment, including microscopes
Discussing findings with physicians
Cytotechnologist Job Education Requirements
Cytotechnologists need at least a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory technology or a related field in order to obtain an entry-level job. These programs include education in biology, chemistry, math, and statistics and may provide experience in laboratory skills. They may also offer work experience in hospitals and laboratories. Some states also require cytotechnologists to obtain a specialized license, which involves obtaining a bachelor's degree and passing an exam.
Cytotechnologists should also possess several important qualities in order to excel in their positions. They should be detail-oriented in order to carry out specific instructions to complete tests. They should have impressive dexterity and great skill with working with their hands, since many laboratory instruments require precision. They should be able to operate complex technology and equipment. Cytotechnologists should also have physical stamina in order to stay on their feet for long hours in a laboratory.
While most cytotechnologists work full time, workplaces like hospitals and open laboratories that rarely close often demand that employees work evening or overnight shifts. Cytotechnologists must obtain specialized training as medical laboratory technologists in order to handle dangerous specimens and fume-producing materials. They must wear protective gear, including masks, gloves and goggles, while working.
Cytotechnologist Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 14 percent job growth for laboratory technologists. This is about average for all occupations. Some of this job growth is due to the demand that the aging population places on cancer and diabetes research. Cytotechnologists will continue to be in demand to take on research and related equipment operation. The BLS predicts that increased access to health insurance will lead to greater demand for medical care and subsequent job growth for cytotechnologists.
Cytotechnologist Job Salary Information
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for laboratory technologists is about $58,000. The lowest 10 percent of the range earns under $40,000, and the top 10 percent of the range earns over $78,000. The most lucrative industries include hospitals, laboratories, physicians' offices and academic institutions.