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

  • Technical Specialist, Cytology
  • Staff Cytotechnologist
  • Senior Cytotechnologist
  • Cytotechnologist/Histotechnologist
  • Cytotechnologist/Cytology Supervisor
  • Cytotechnologist Supervisor
  • Cytotechnologist
  • Cytopathology Technologist
  • Cytology Supervisor
  • Cytology Manager

What They Do

  • Perform karyotyping or organizing of chromosomes according to standardized ideograms.
  • Prepare cell samples by applying special staining techniques, such as chromosomal staining, to differentiate cells or cell components.
  • Examine specimens to detect abnormal hormone conditions.
  • Attend continuing education programs that address laboratory issues.
  • Adjust, maintain, or repair laboratory equipment such as microscopes.
  • Assign tasks or coordinate task assignments to ensure adequate performance of laboratory activities.
  • Assist pathologists or other physicians to collect cell samples such as by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies.
  • Examine specimens using microscopes to evaluate specimen quality.
  • 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.

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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in Washington was $63,640 with most people making between $46,410 and $85,050

Outlook

2.70%
avg. annual growth

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately 3,070 people in Washington. It is projected that there will be 3,890 employed in 2018.

This occupation will have about 83 openings due to growth and about 67 replacement openings for approximately 150 total annual openings.