Cytotechnologists are laboratory technicians who observe cellular structures in human tissue to detect the presence of abnormalities. The CareerStint write-up below will educate you regarding the job description and average salary of a cytotechnologist.
There a innumerable designations in the scientific community, and those working in laboratories are known as scientists, histotechnicians, oncologists, cytotechnologists, etc. As laymen, we would believe that they are all essentially the same. What does a cytotechnologist do, then? Well, the fact is, that each and every one in this industry have different job duties, different functions. Yes, they all share a common knowledge of the same subjects, like anatomy, biology, etc., but basically, every one has different duties to carry out.
By definition, a cytotechnologist examines tissue specimens and tries to find any evidence of a disease. The job description is further elaborated in detail below.
- The basic job of a cytotechnologist is to examine cell structures.
- He uses tissue as well as cell samples and examines them under the microscope.
- He checks the shape, size, and color of the cell, carefully studying the structure to detect any abnormalities.
- These abnormalities indicate the presence of cancerous growth, or bacterial or viral infection.
- The detection process may include using a number of chemicals and other preparations so that the nucleus of the cell can be carefully analyzed.
- The cytotechnologist is expected to have fair knowledge of subjects, like immunology, chemistry, cellular anatomy, molecular diagnosis, etc.
- If no abnormalities are detected, he/she will report his/her own observations.
- If any foreign presence is detected, he will report the same to the pathologist, and they will both work together to diagnose the condition.
- He is also responsible for analyzing Pap tests (the ones that detect cervical cancer).
- Cytotechnologists collect, study, and analyze many other types of tissue samples.
- At a slightly advanced level, they are also responsible for managing laboratory operations and supervising research activities.
- The cell samples go through a process of scraping or aspiration.
- They are carefully observed to detect precancerous, malignant, and other infectious conditions.
- They perform RNA or DNA testing as well (molecular cytotechnologists).
- They prepare and evaluate different specimens to study their quality.
- They perform fine needle aspirations to detect hormonal abnormalities.
- They assist pathologists in the preparation of reports.
- They interpret cell structures from practically any part of the body, like the breast, salivary glands, liver, lymph nodes, etc.
- To begin with, you need to obtain a relevant bachelor’s degree program.
- After that, you need to complete an accredited training program in cytotechnology.
- Many aspirants go in for a master’s degree after a few years of experience as a cytologist.
The salary of a cytotechnologist, even for an entry-level candidate, is fair enough. With experience, they can earn very high salaries. Of course, the figure depends heavily upon your education, experience, the state where you work, etc.
|New Hampshire||USD 59,000|
|New Jersey||USD 65,000|
|New Mexico||USD 52,000|
|New York||USD 72,000|
|North Carolina||USD 57,000|
|North Dakota||USD 53,000|
|Rhode Island||USD 54,000|
|South Carolina||USD 59,000|
|South Dakota||USD 45,000|
|West Virginia||USD 56,000|
Source: Indeed.com as of December 10, 2014. Figures are in US Dollars.
- As a cytotechnologist, you will spending all your time in the laboratory.
- Most pathology labs will have regular work hours, but at times, you may need to work for longer hours, or stay back for night shifts.
- You will be working continuously with lab equipment, tissue samples, stains, dyes, chemical solutions, etc.
- This job requires extreme caution and an alert mind.
- If you can handle the work pressure and the responsibilities, and you have an affinity towards health care, this is the right field for you.
The job of a cytotechnologist is crucial. After all, he is responsible for detecting cellular abnormalities; thus, he helps determine the patient’s health condition, whether or not his tumors are malignant, the kind of bacterial infection, etc. One needs to have plenty of dedication and empathy to become a good cytotechnologist.