Cytotechnology (C45220)

What is Cytotechnology?

Cytotechnology is the microscopic study of cells that have been shed, scraped or aspirated from body tissues. A cytotechnologist is a highly skilled laboratory professional. These specialists prepare samples obtained from various body areas for examination by using staining techniques which make the specimen more visible. Cytotechnologists are trained to recognize minute abnormalities in the color, size, and shape of the cell structures.

Cytotechnologist are responsible for the first microscopic evaluation of the cytologic material, determining the presence or absence of abnormal or malignant cells and providing a preliminary diagnosis in cases that warrant further evaluation by a pathologist. As a result of cytologic findings, physicians are often able to diagnose and treat cancer before symptoms occur or before it can be detected by other methods.

Cytotechnology originated as a method of detecting malignant and premalignant lesions in the female genital tract (the Pap Smear). This discipline has since expanded to include cancer diagnosis in all body areas. With the advent of fine needle aspiration cytology, virtually every organ in the body is accessible to cytologic diagnosis.

Cytotechnologists must know basic human anatomy, physiology and pathology, and have an indepth knowledge of cell morphology in order to interpret varied cytology specimens accurately. In addition, cytotechnologists must master various specialized techniques for collecting, preparing and staining many types of cell samples.

Cytotechnologists play an integral part in the total health care of patients. They must at all times, be aware that each specimen represents a patient and that accuracy of the diagnostic report is essential.

Personal Qualifications

An individual considering a career in cytotechnology should be able to perform work that requires precision and sound judgment. Manual dexterity, dependability, and good color vision are also important characteristics. Since the expertise of the cytotechnologists is relied upon in assuring high quality patient care, individuals who want to become cytechnologists should have a high degree of integrity and be willing to assume a great deal of responsibility.

Cytotechnology at Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College Health Sciences Division offers a 12-month program in cytotechnology. The program offers an exceptional educational experience by providing the high-quality didactic and clinical experiences needed to create a well-rounded, fully competent cytotechnologist.

For more information

Call 704-330-6383 to talk to the Program Chair.