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What is Cytotechnology?
Cytotechnology is a field of study within medicine focused on the microscopic interpretation of cancer. A cytotechnologist will be trained to understand a number of biological scales that include cellular behavior, genetics, signaling networks, epigenetics, histology, epidemiology, and clinical manifestations to understand cancerous properties and complexities. The Cytotechnology degree path seeks to inform students on the genetics of cancer, malignancy of living systems (cells, tissue, organs, blood), physiology of cancer cells, gene expression, viral genes, tumor suppressor genes, cancer proliferation, hormonal factors, signal transduction, cancer proteins, metastasis, and treatment options (genetic, chemical, radiological).
What Do Cytotechnologists Do?
The study of cytotechnology is the microscopic study of cells to determine if there is evidence of disease, viral infections, cancer, and/or bacterial infections. A generation ago, the field for cytotechnologists was strictly associated with the evaluation of cells from the uterine cervix commonly known as a Pap test. Today the term is used to assess and identify diseases cells from all parts of the body. Careful examination of aspirated or scraped cells can help doctors identify an array of infectious diseases, precancerous cells, and malignant conditions.
As technology continues to evolve healthcare, professionals in the field are provided new opportunities for testing and screening patients. In fact, the arena of molecular diagnostics is a burgeoning field that continues to yield effective results for identifying and treating a variety of cell-based diseases.
Top Degrees in Cytotechnology
In an effort to make your research more efficient, we have summarized the most popular degrees in the field below. The summary will help you understand what is involved in each degree type and quickly connect with accredited schools to gather pertinent information as you work towards a decision on schooling. Simply connect with any number of schools found on this resource page and match offerings up with your personal priority list before making a final decision.
Bachelor Degrees in Cytotechnology
According to a survey performed by the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 38% of professionals in the field of cytotechnology hold a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in cytotechnology is popular degree option that provides students with foundational knowledge and upper-level courses requisite to enter the field. The overwhelming majority of bachelor degree programs are 4-year degrees blending liberal arts education with core curricula. That being said, there are a number of schools for cytotechnologists that offer 1-year and 2-year bachelor degrees.
Given the span of degree offerings, it is challenging to summarize a single set of core curriculum. However, classes you may find in a cytotechnologist program include:
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Analysis
- Functional Histology
- Surgical and Cytology Pathology
- Flow Cytometry
- Cell and Molecular Diagnostics
Master Degrees in Cytotechnology
Master’s degrees for cytotechnologists are conferred as a Master of Science (MS). Traditional master degree programs last 1-2 years for full time students with part time students taking longer to complete. Several accredited colleges offering degrees for cytotechnologists offer the following variations on the traditional MS program including:
- A 3+2 Master’s Degree
- Joint Bachelor/Master Degree
- Accelerated Master’s Degree
- Professional Master’s Degree
- Advanced Master’s Degree for Part-Time Students
- Advanced Master’s Degree for Full-Time Students
Options will vary from school to school along with the course work for each graduate program. Collect information from a variety of programs that fit your career goals and academic objectives before applying.
Educational Requirements for Cytotechnologists
In terms of educational requirements, Cytotechnology degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Information & Cytotech Specializations
For students that earn a college degree in Cytotechnology, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from high school teacher, post-secondary teacher, researcher, genomics, immunologist, toxicologist, virologist, biologist, biological technician, biomedical engineer, microbiologist, medical scientist, epidemiologist, food scientist, surgeon, and nutritional scientist to name a few possible career tracks.
Where Do Cytotechnologists Work?
Cytotechs can be found in a number of work environments including densely populated cities to rural towns around the country. The most popular places for cytotechs to work include hospitals, research laboratories, colleges & universities, and clinics. With additional schooling and/or work experience, may professionals work their way into administrative roles and supervisory roles. This career track will blend technical knowledge with leadership skills to continue to advance the field of study.
Job Growth & Salary Outlook for Cytotechnologists
The job growth in the greater Cytotechnology domain are well above average. Projected growth rates for the coming decade are estimated at 14% which is more than twice the national average for all vocations. Employment growth of this nature is expected to create 62,500 job opening for the coming reporting period. The median annual income for cytotechnologists is $61,070 based on the most current data from the U.S. DOL. Given the broad nature of the Cytotechnology degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include teaching, research, genomics, immunology, radiobiology, neuroanatomy, pharmacology, botany, medical scientist, surgeon, and microbiology.
Professional Associations for Cytotechnologist
National associations and organizations such as the following are designed to help cytotechs from coast to coast. Members gain access to resources, research, tools, and other professionals to help advance the body of knowledge in the field. It may be worth the investment of time and money to research the following associations to learn more today.