Choosing a Career in Cytotechnology


Choose a Career in Cytotechnology

Help Save Lives Through Microscopes



Cytotechnology is an allied health specialty that offers exciting possibilities for those who want a career in science and a significant role in health care.

Using a microscope, cytotechnologists study specimens from all body sites.  Subtle changes in the cells themselves enable cytotechnologists to diagnose cancer, pre-cancerous lesions, benign tumors, infectious agents and inflammatory processes.  Cytotechnologists can help save lives by discovering certain diseases early when treatment is most effective.  A career as a cytotechnologist is both challenging and rewarding.

Cytotechnologists are observant, responsible, caring professionals who work independently and are also good team players.



Cytotechnologists are employed at the staff level in hospital and private laboratories, university medical centers and government facilities, and industry.  With experience and sometimes, additional education, positions are available at the supervisory, educational and administrative levels.  The job responsibilities of cytotechnologists are expanding with the advancement of new technologies.



Cytotechnology training programs are offered at the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate (certificate) levels and are located in both university and hospital/laboratory settings.  Students may be admitted to a cytotechnology program in their junior or senior year of college or after they have completed their undergraduate studies.  Specific course requirements vary somewhat among schools; however, 20 semester hours of biological science, 8 semester hours of chemistry and 3 semester hours of mathematics, statistics or equivalent are recommended.


Upon completion of a cytotechnology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in collaboration with the Cytotechnology Programs Review Committee of the American Society of Cytopathology, students are eligible to sit for a national certification examination given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry.  Successful completion of this examination indicates attainment of entry level proficiency in the field, and individuals are then recognized as CT(ASCP) – certified cytotechnologists.


Employment opportunities for certified cytotechnologists exist throughout the United States and internationally.  However, availability varies depending on location and the job market. Jobs are found in laboratories that may require cytotechnologists to perform many functions or in laboratories where most of their time is spent at the microscope.  Increasingly, jobs may be found in settings that utilize and/or market automated technologies. Salaries vary depending on institution and location and are competitive with other allied health professions.

Download the Career in Cytotechnology Brochure (PDF)

For hardcopies of this brochure, additional information and a complete listing of accredited programs, email the National Office or call (302) 429-8802. 

You may also find the current complete list of accredited cytotechnology programs here.

You may also download the American Medical Association Health Professions E-letter for more information.