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What is a Cytotechnologist, and What Do Cytotechnologists Do?


Female doctor using microscope
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Question: What is a Cytotechnologist, and What Do Cytotechnologists Do?
Answer: Cytotechnologists work in a hospital lab, or commercial lab, analyzing slides of human cells under a microscope. The cells may come from a variety of areas of the human anatomy, including skin, reproductive tract, digestive tract, or any area that sheds cells.

Cytotechnologists prepare the slides and examine them under the microscope, looking for abnormalities such as cancerous cells, pre-cancerous cells, or infectious disease cells (bacteria, viruses, etc.)

The cytotechnologist then reports his or her findings to a pathologist (physician) who then gives the final diagnosis to report to the treating physician specialist.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the average pay for cytotechnologists is about $30.00 per hour, which equates to about $60,000 annually for a full-time schedule (40-hour workweek).

The cytotechnology educational track is about one year long after prerequisite coursework which is about two years of college. This can vary depending on the course load, and program, but plan on a minimum of three years up to five years after high school graduation. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in order to qualify for the national certification exam in cytotechnology.

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