Cytotechnologists are health professionals trained to study human cell samples using microscopes in order to determine whether the cells are normal or whether they indicate abnormalities that can be a sign of a disease such as cancer. Cytotechnologists can also detect viral and bacterial infections from cell samples. Cytotechnologists must be responsible patient and reliable problem-solvers especially because they often work independently. They must be meticulous in their work because the consequences can be serious if mistakes are made.
To become a cytotechnologist individuals should have a good foundation in the sciences especially biology and chemistry. They also need a firm understanding of math and computer science. In the United States most positions require at least a bachelor's degree often with a major in cytotechnology. If the bachelor's degree is not specifically in cytotechnology individuals can attend a one-year cytotechnology (CT) program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
All cytotechnologists must pass a certification exam that is administered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology which is the organization that sets the standards for the profession. There are numerous career opportunities for cytotechnologists throughout the country and future prospects for jobs in this career are excellent. Cytotechnologists work in hospital university and private laboratories.
The website Healthpronet.org reports that the average annual salary for cytotechnologists is approximately $50000 but it can increase to an average of $61000 if they advance to a supervisory position.