Today, there are more jobs for cytotechnologists than educated people to fill those jobs; future long-term employment looks bright. The Cytotechnology Program at Central Piedmont is a full-time, 12-month post-baccalaureate certificate program that prepares you to use specialized equipment to study cells for detecting cancer, hormonal abnormalities, and other pathological disease processes.
What You Will Learn
Cytotechnology is the microscopic study of cells that have been shed, scraped, or aspirated from body tissues. As a cytotechnologist, you will play an integral part in the total health care of patients — cytotechnologists 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. Cytotechnologists are highly skilled laboratory professionals who prepare samples obtained from various body areas for examination by using staining techniques which make the specimen more visible. Cytotechnologists must know basic human anatomy, physiology, and pathology, and have an in-depth knowledge of cell morphology in order to interpret varied cytology specimens accurately. You will be trained to recognize minute abnormalities in the color, size, and shape of cell structures. In addition, you will master various specialized techniques for collecting, preparing, and staining many types of cell samples. As a cytotechnologist, you must, at all times, be aware that each specimen represents a patient and that accuracy of the diagnostic report is essential.
Upon completion of the cytotechnology certificate, you will:
- when given conventional and/or liquid-based cervicovaginal cellular samples, be able to microscopically identify and discriminate among the following entities: a. specimen adequacy b. cellular constituents within the negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy category c. non-neoplastic findings including cellular changes associated with infections, reactive and reparative changes associated with inflammation, effects of therapy, effects of mechanical devices and effects of DES exposure, glandular cells status post hysterectomy, and endometrial cells in a woman 40 years or older d. epithelial squamous abnormalities, including atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, atypical squamous cells cannot exclude HSIL, low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, and squamous cell carcinoma e. glandular cell abnormalities including atypical endocervical cells, atypical endometrial cells, atypical glandular cells NOS, atypical endocervical cells favor neoplastic, atypical glandular cells favor neoplastic, endocervical adenocarcinoma in-situ, adenocarcinoma f. non-epithelial malignant neoplasms g. extra-uterine malignant neoplasms; you will also be able to evaluate gynecologic material with sufficient competence to meet the entry-level responsibility of issuing the final report for negative gynecologic specimens.
- when given cellular samples from any non-gynecologic cytology specimen, including fine needle aspirations, be able to microscopically identify and discriminate among the following entities: a. specimen adequacy b. cellular constituents within normal limits c. inflammatory cells d. microbiologic entities associated with cytomorphology e. manifestations of cellular degeneration f. benign cellular changes g. cellular manifestations of benign neoplasms h. cellular manifestations of malignant neoplasms i. cellular effects of radiation and chemotherapy j. altered cellular morphology due to collection methods; you will also be able to detect, select, and appropriately mark the cells most representative of the nature of any pathological process when given a cellular preparation
- be able to explain quality control and quality assurance measures as required by current regulations (CLIA, CAP, JCAHO, HIPAA, and applicable state regulations) and be able to comply with laboratory safety measures and regulations
You will also be eligible to take an examination for certification given by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and will be able to find cytotechnology jobs in an unlimited choice of practice settings in hospitals, for-profit laboratories, clinics, and public health facilities.
Students in this program may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases through the provision of clinical services. It is for this reason that students are provided instruction on infectious diseases, mechanisms of disease transmission, and infection control procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission, including those published by national public health agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, please refer to our student OSHA hazardous communication standard (PDF) and student exposure classification bloodborne pathogens (PDF) forms.
Why Choose Central Piedmont
Our cytotechnology program offers an exceptional educational experience by providing the high-quality didactic and clinical experiences needed to become a well-rounded, fully competent cytotechnologist. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) of the American Medical Association, in collaboration with the Cytotechnology Programs Review Committee (CPRC) of the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC). For the past three academic years, 100% of our cytotechnology graduates passed their Board Certification on their first attempt and found employment upon graduation. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Cytotechnology Student Association.
Real World Education
At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.