Cytogenetic Technologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Analyzes chromosomes found in biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis or treatment of genetic diseases.

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


A person in this career:

  • Counts numbers of chromosomes and identifies the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
  • Arranges and attaches chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
  • Analyzes chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.
  • Creates chromosome images using computer imaging systems.
  • Examines chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
  • Harvests cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.
  • Selects appropriate culturing system or procedure based on specimen type and reason for referral.
  • Summarizes test results and reports to appropriate authorities.
  • Describes chromosome, FISH and aCGH analysis results in Internations System of Cytogenetic Nomenclature (ISCN) language.
  • Prepares slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.

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.
  • 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
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Cytogenetics (CLSp(CG)) --