Helpful Information / FAQs

Helpful Information

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 in-depth 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.

What are the educational requirements?

Preparation for a career in cytotechnology is accomplished by successfully completing an accredited educational program. Students may apply for admission to the CPCC program after they have completed a Bachelor’s degree with 20 semester hours of biology, 8 semester hours of chemistry, and 3 semester hours of mathematics.

Applicants must meet the minimal technical standards or essential skills necessary for the professional practice of cytotechnology.

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 cytotechnologist is relied upon in assuring high quality patient care, individuals who want to become cytotechnologists should have a high degree of integrity and be willing to assume a great deal of responsibility.

Career Opportunities

Today, there are more jobs for cytotechnologists than educated people to fill those jobs. Future long-term employment looks bright. The need is great throughout the country. Cytotechnologists have an unlimited choice of practice settings. Hospitals, for-profit laboratories, clinics, public health facilities and industry currently have positions available for qualified cytotechnologists.

Licensure and Certification

Upon successful completion of an educational program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), an individual is eligible to take an examination for certification given by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. An additional Specialist in Cytotechnology certification is available for persons with advanced degrees and/or experience. Individuals who pass this examination may use the designation SCT after their names.

Links for Additional Information on Cytotechnology:

Read about cytotechnology in the Bureau of Labor Statistics brochure, “Healthcare jobs you might not know about.”

Visit websites of cytology professional organizations:

Visit the American Society of Clinical Pathology website and learn more about becoming certified as a cytotechnologist:

Enjoy viewing cytology images at the following website: