Cytotechnologists

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About the Job

Stain, mount, and study cells to detect evidence of cancer, hormonal abnormalities, and other pathological conditions following established standards and practices.

It is also Called

  • Certified Cytotechnologist
  • Cytologist
  • Cytology Manager
  • Cytopathology Technologist
  • Cytotechnologist

What They Do

  • Document specimens by verifying patients' and specimens' information.
  • Submit slides with abnormal cell structures to pathologists for further examination.
  • Examine cell samples to detect abnormalities in the color, shape, or size of cellular components and patterns.
  • Provide patient clinical data or microscopic findings to assist pathologists in the preparation of pathology reports.
  • Prepare and analyze samples, such as Papanicolaou (PAP) smear body fluids and fine needle aspirations (FNAs), to detect abnormal conditions.
  • Maintain effective laboratory operations by adhering to standards of specimen collection, preparation, or laboratory safety.
  • Examine specimens using microscopes to evaluate specimen quality.
  • Assist pathologists or other physicians to collect cell samples such as by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies.
  • Attend continuing education programs that address laboratory issues.
  • Adjust, maintain, or repair laboratory equipment such as microscopes.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Recognition and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $59,460 with most people making between $39,940 and $80,820

Outlook

0.59%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 169,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 188,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 1,000 openings due to growth and about 51,000 replacement openings for approximately 52,000 total annual openings.