Cytotechnologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Stains, mounts, and studies cells to detect evidence of cancer, hormonal abnormalities, and other pathological conditions following established standards and practices.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Diagnostic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Submits slides with abnormal cell structures to pathologists for further examination.
  • Provides patient clinical data or microscopic findings to assist pathologists in the preparation of pathology reports.
  • Examines cell samples to detect abnormalities in the color, shape, or size of cellular components and patterns.
  • Documents specimens by verifying patients' and specimens' information.
  • Maintains effective laboratory operations by adhering to standards of specimen collection, preparation, or laboratory safety.
  • Prepares and analyzes samples, such as Papanicolaou (PAP) smear body fluids and fine needle aspirations (FNAs), to detect abnormal conditions.
  • Examines specimens using microscopes to evaluate specimen quality.
  • Assists pathologists or other physicians to collect cell samples such as by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies.
  • Assigns tasks or coordinates task assignments to ensure adequate performance of laboratory activities.
  • Adjusts, maintains, or repairs laboratory equipment such as microscopes.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Cytology Laboratory Manager (Cytology Lab Manager) --
  • Cytology Manager --
  • Cytology Supervisor --
  • Cytotechnologist Supervisor --
  • Cytotechnologist/Cytology Supervisor --
  • Cytotechnologist/Histotechnologist --
  • Senior Cytotechnologist --
  • Staff Cytotechnologist --
  • Technical Specialist, Cytology --