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Cytotechnology

Introduction 

 
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The Profession

Cytotechnologists are health professionals who practice diagnostic cytology, the examination of cells removed from all body sites to determine if cancer or benign diseases are present. Cytotechnologists work with pathologists to detect and interpret microscopic abnormalities and to correlate cytologic findings with clinical information before a diagnosis is rendered.

The Cytotechnologists make contributions in the following areas:

  • Detecting cellular changes with the use of a microscope to diagnose a disease or a condition.
     
  • Preparing special stains and using adjunct technologies such as Flow Cytometry and Image Analysis.
     
  • Assisting physicians with procedures like Fine needle Aspirations(FNA) and interfacing with them in determining diagnosis of diseases.
     
  • Supervising and teaching other laboratory personnel.
     
  • Monitoring the quality and validity of reports through quality assurance programs.
     

As a result of the findings of Cytotechnologists, the physician is frequently able to diagnose and treat cancer early before symptoms occur.

 

Career Opportunities

The use of diagnostic cytology as a tool in the early detection of cancer has increased throughout the world. Employment opportunities are available to the Cytotechnologist in:

 
  • Clinical Laboratories of Hospitals 
     
  • Commercial and Industrial Laboratories
     
  • Teaching Institutions
     

With improved methods of early detection and diagnosis of cancer, as well as in increased incidence of the disease, the Cytotechnologist is ensured of many employment opportunities with a good salary, professional mobility, and challenging work. Presently, the demand for Cytotechnologists skilled in the examination of specimens for tumor cells and benign diseases exceeds the number of qualified personnel. Upward mobility and career advancement opportunities exist through professional experience or pursuit of advanced degrees.

Career Information

A baccalaureate degree is the entry level for a career in Cytotechnology.

Employment:

"Rapid job growth and excellent job opportunities are expected" for medical and clinical laboratory technologists (scientists) according to the 2008-2018 Employment Projections of the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 12% growth in new positions is projected for this period with an increase from 172,400 to 193,000 positions nationwide. On top of that, many additional positions will be available due to retirement or attrition from the field. (Scource: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Employment Projections for 2009-2018, December 17, 2009. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos096.htm)

According to a survey conducted in 2008 by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the national vacancy rate for Cytotechnologists positions was 4.8%, with higher rates in private clinic/reference laboratories (7.3%) and large hospitals (6.9%). (Source: Lab Med, 40:133-141, March 2009) http://www.ascp.org/pdf/Membership-Communications/Wage-and-Vacancy-Survey.aspx

Salaries:

In a survery conducted in 2008 by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the national median average wage for staff Cytotechnologists was $50,032 annually. The annual median wage for Cytotechnologist Supervisors was $71,053, respectively. (Source: Lab Med, 40:133-141, March 2009) http://www.ascp.org/pdf/Membership-Communications/Wage-and-Vacancy-Survey.aspx

According to salary.com, Staff Cytotechnologist salaries (for those already working in the field) range as follows:

Newark, Essex County
10th Percentile
25th Percentile
75th Percentile
61,887
67,508
79,678

Source: www.salary.com.
Salaries are higher for Supervisory Cytotechnologists.
Accessed 01/06/10

Certification:

Graduates of accredited programs are eligible for certification examinations in the Cytotechnologist category. Information can be obtained by contacting:

Professional Organizations:

 

 

 

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