Lab Tech Looking into Microscope

Cytotechnologists are laboratory specialists who study cells under microscopes, searching for cell abnormalities such as changes in color, shape, or size that might indicate the presence of disease. They work under the direction of pathologists. Cytotechnologists may also assist pathologists in the collection of body cells from various body sites, prepare slides, keep records, file reports, and consult with coworkers and pathologists. Most cytotechnologists work in private medical laboratories or in the laboratories of hospitals or research institutions. Approximately 162,950 medical and clinical laboratory technologists (including cytotechnologists) are employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Study tissue samples by microscope, looking for abnormal cell growth patterns; analyze Pap smears and specimens from other parts of the body; assist physicians with some bedside procedures; keep records and file reports
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) All geographic regions
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Computer
  • Organizational
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Laboratory Owner/Operator
  • Professor of Cytotechnology
  • Director of Research
  • Supervisor
  • Cytotechnologist