What does a cytotechnologist do?

Cytotechnology is the microscopic study of body cells to detect cancer, viral and bacterial infections and other abnormal conditions. Cytotechnology techniques can identify precancerous or cancerous cells, such as with the Pap test, an evaluation of cells from the cervix.

Cytotechnologists are lab professionals who evaluate patients’ cell samples and are trained to notice subtle changes to accurately detect precancerous, malignant and infectious conditions. Cytotechnologists usually work closely with a pathologist.

People they work with: Pathologists

Where they work: Hospital labs, private labs, and universities

Career outlook for a cytotechnologist

Career opportunities for cytotechnologists are good. Jobs are open in both rural and metropolitan areas in all regions of the country. Positions are available in diagnostic cytology, as well as in research, education and administration. Today new screenings and techniques have been developed, creating new opportunities for cytotechnologists.

With further study and experience, a cytotechnologist may advance to a supervisory role or an educator.

Cytotechnologist programs at Mayo Clinic

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