University of Wisconsin–Madison

Cytotechnologist (CT)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Cytotechnologists prepare microscopic slides of cells of the human body to detect cell abnormalities such as size, color, shape, composition, and patterns.
  • This cellular examination allows early diagnosis and treatment of cancers not yet detectable by other examination methods.
  • They then report this information to the physician, pathologist.
  • Cytotechnologists follow prescribed techniques in the storage, handling and preparation of cellular materials to be examined.
  • Cytotechnologists work in hospitals, clinics, or private labs under supervision of a pathologist.
  • They may also work at research facilities and teaching locations.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Cytotechnologists like to help people. They know their work is important.
  • Their work can, however, be very repetitious and they must always be alert to detect even the subtle and slightest cellular differences.
  • Part-time positions are available.

Getting Started

  • High School Courses
    • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
    • Helpful high school courses include anatomy & physiology, biology, chemistry, math and statistics & probability.
    • Shadowing a Cytologist is strongly recommended.
  • Education and Training
    • Undergraduates must complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with usually a minimum of 20 semester hours in biological sciences, 8 semester hours of chemistry and 3-4 semester hours of mathematics. Programs can vary on prerequisites.
    • Afterwards graduates will be eligible to apply for a 12-month accredited Cytotechnology program that generally runs for one calendar year at an affiliated hospital.
    • Certain colleges partnered with Hospital Cytotechnology Programs allow their undergraduates to apply usually in their senior year, complete the Program, and then receive a degree from the original college.
    • The Cytotechnology Program at Marshfield Labs is affiliated with the following universities: UW-Stevens Point; UW-Green Bay; Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI; Luther College, Decorah, IA; Winona State University, Winona, MN; and College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN.
    • Marshfield Labs offers a 12-month program. Applicants either possess, or are eligible for, a bachelor’s degree upon completion of the Program. Prerequisites: minimum GPA of 2.5, 28 credits of various sciences, and 3 credits of college math. See website for specifics.
    • Mayo School of Health Sciences’ Cytotechnology Program allows application from graduates with a bachelor’s degree OR seniors enrolled at select educational institutions meeting their prerequisite courses.
    • UW-Stevens Point offers a major in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) with 3 options—1) Histotechnology 2) Cytotechnology 3) Medical Technology
    • Carroll University partnered with UW-Milwaukee offers a CLS major with a Cytotechnology emphasis. Entry into professional training phase is competitive and follows 2 ½ years on Carroll campus completing both general education and science requirements.
    • Core course work includes biology, genetics, physiology, anatomy, cell biology, electron microscope techniques, microbiology, medical terminology, college algebra, statistics, and general education.
    • Practicum experience at a clinical laboratory focuses on clinical techniques with hands-on exposure.

    Educational Institutions

    Carroll University
    Edgewood College
    Marian University
    University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
    University of Wisconsin – Madison
    University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
    University of Wisconsin – Platteville
    University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
    University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

    Affiliated Twelve Month Laboratory Training:

    Marshfield Labs, Marshfield
    Mayo Clinic, Rochester
    State Lab of Hygiene, Madison
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee

  • Method of Entry
    • Baccalaureate degree or higher from a regionally accredited college/university AND successful completion of a 12-month Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)/ National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) accredited Cytotechnology program within the last 5 years.
    • NOTE: Either the college/university has to be accredited OR the12-month Cytotechnology lab program accredited OR both to be eligible for exam.
    • Graduates are then eligible to take the National Registry Examination of the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
  • Professional Organizations

     

    American Society for Clinical Pathology
    33 West Monroe, Suite 1600
    Chicago, IL, 60603
    312/541-4999 or 800/267-2727 (ASCP)
    www.ascp.org

    American Society for Cytotechnology
    1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102
    Raleigh, NC, 27607
    919/861-5571 or 800/948-3947
    www.asct.com

    American Society of Cytopathology
    100 West 10th St., Suite 605
    Wilmington, DE, 19801
    302/543-6583
    www.cytopathology.org

    Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
    1361 Park St.
    Clearwater, FL, 33756
    727/210-2350
    www.caahep.org/

    National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
    5600 N. River Rd., Suite 720
    Rosemont, IL, 60018-5119
    773/714-8880 or 847/939-3597
    www.naacls.org

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 3,570
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 164,800
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 187,900
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 14%
Expected Annual Openings: 6,250
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $56,416

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

Work 40-hour week, Monday thru Friday.

  • Can become laboratory supervisors, teachers, or hospital administrators.
  • Those with a graduate degree can conduct research.