Facts about Cytotechnologist Jobs

Cytotechnologist jobs make up a vital part of health care. Cytotechnologists play a critical role in the fight against cancer, meningitis and other major diseases. If you are interested in this career field, you will want to know more about the duties, required training, salary and opportunities for advancement that accompany cytotechnologist jobs.

Definition and Duties

A cytotechnologist takes samples of cellular material and studies them for traces of abnormality. Using advanced microscopic techniques and training, the cytotechnologist may be able to tell if a patient is at risk for cancer, leukemia or other maladies.

Cytotechnologists get cell samples in a number of ways. Cells are often scraped from parts of the body to obtain samples. The most well-known example of this is the Pap test for cervical cancer. Cells can also be acquired by needle. Sometimes samples of hair, saliva or body fluids can be used for tests. The cytotechnologist must be an expert at using microscopes and other medical equipment.

Training and Education

If you want to become a candidate for cytotechnologist jobs, you must first obtain a bachelor's degree from a program that has been accredited by either the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Such a program includes intense study in the areas of biology, endocrinology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Most states also require that cytotechnologists be certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

The Working Environment of Cytotechnologist Jobs

The majority of cytotechnologists work for hospitals, clinics and universities. Some are employed by private companies such as Abbott Laboratories or Sanofi. No matter how they are employed, cytotechnologists spend most of their time working in a clinical laboratory setting. A 40-hour work week is the general rule, but there can be overtime depending on the workload. Hours are generally during the day, though night and weekend work cannot be ruled out.

As a cytotechnologist, you would spend a typical day taking samples and interpreting them. (Sometimes samples are taken by nurses or other personnel and then provided to the cytotechnologist.) You can expend to spend much of your time examining cell samples with microscopes, determining the results and then reporting them. Cytotechnologists will often consult with primary care physicians and oncologists.

Average Salary and Wages for Cytotechnologist Jobs

Pay for cytotechnologists varies with experience, but the average median salary is in the range of $40,000 to $45,000 a year. The lowest hourly wage is $16.70, while the highest is $24.00 per hour. You can make more money if you can advance to a supervisory position.

Opportunities and Advancement

Career opportunities for cytotechnologists are excellent. There is a high demand for the position in every part of the country, and many hospitals and clinics have constant openings. The profession is expected to grow at a higher than normal pace as genetic medicine becomes more prevalent and cell sampling becomes more common.

A cytotechnologist can further his or her career with more education. Many will go on to earn master's degrees, and some may even become physicians. A cytotechnologist can also grow through experience to become a supervisor or an educator. A career in cytotechnology can be a jumping off point to many other health care careers.

You can find out more about cytotechnology jobs at www.hospitaljobsonline.com.