Cytology is the study of the formation, structure
and function of cells. Cytotechnologists are trained technologists
to work with pathologists to detect changes in cellular material
from all body sites in the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.
Physicians use the information supplied by the cytotechnologists
to make a diagnosis.
Cytotechnologists work with a wide variety of laboratory specimen preparations and a basic knowledge of contemporary procedures and technologies such as image analysis, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, molecular diagnostic procedures, and automation. The cytotechnologist's role extends beyond the detection of malignancy and includes such issues as quality improvement, laboratory management, teaching, research, and consumer/patient education. They should have excellent concentration and good judgment capabilities.
Areas of Specialization
They may work in hospitals, private laboratories, research or teaching
positions. Cytotechnologists always work under the supervision of
The number of medical and clinical laboratory techs employed in
Florida in 2006 was 6,536. An annual average growth rate of 2.9
percent is projected until 2014.
A cytotechnologist with a baccalaureate degree and five years experience,
a master's degree and four years experience, or a doctorate degree
and three years experience can qualify to be a specialist in cytotechnology.
These specialists are skilled in examining all types of body specimens,
including needle aspirates. Senior cytotechnologists, supervisors
or educators are generally specialists in cytotechnology.
Length of Training/Requirements
A bachelor's degree with three years of college education plus one
calendar year of special instruction in cytotechnology is required
for entry level competency. The curriculum emphasizes embryology,
cytology as applied in clinical medicine, clinical medicine, human
anatomy, cytophysiology, endocrinology, cytochemistry, parasitology,
microbiology, histology, and inflammatory diseases. A bachelor's
degree is required to take the registry examination of the American
Society for Clinical Pathology. Continuing education hours are required
every two years for license renewal in the state of Florida.