We’ll be focusing our discussion on how to become a certified cytotechnologist. Until then, we’ll first review the roles of these experts. That way, you’ll know what you’re signing up for.
Training to Become a Certified Cytotechnologist
Becoming a cytotechnologist can be an ideal career option for those wanting to work in healthcare. You’ll perform various critical clinical tasks behind the scenes of an examination room or lab.
One such job is to study anomalies in cells and their importance. You may also analyze tissue specimens for signs of tumors, precancerous cells, & infectious disease.
Is cytotechnology a good career?
The field of cytotechnology provides many exciting career possibilities for graduates. You can earn handsomely following your graduation.
However, most interested candidates need to learn how to grow into experts in this field. Are you one of them? Then stay with us until the end.
What does a cytotechnologist do?
Not all diseases can be diagnosed via lab tests or medical imaging. Some conditions, such as cancer, can only be tested by trained lab specialists called cytotechnologists.
These experts have sufficient skills and training to analyze client cell specimens and observe subtle modifications. They can reliably detect precancerous, transmissible, and cancerous conditions.
Experts in this field usually work with pathologists. They use a microscope to analyze the body’s cells and assist clients in healing from illness by finding a disorder at a curable stage.
Furthermore, these experts collaborate with other healthcare personnel to diagnose promptly. This will further allow physicians to offer suitable medical care.
Some places where these practitioners work include hospital labs, universities, and private labs. The schedule ranges from eight-hour days to five days a week.
Here are the cytotechnology education requirements if you plan to become one.
Growing into an expert in this field involves several states.
Interested candidates must satisfy both academic and certification essentials to become one. This may take several years, depending on your choice of program and institution.
Allow us to review the stages for better understanding.
Be a High School Graduate
You must hold a secondary school certificate to pursue this fantastic career. While acquiring such credentials, you can take as many math and science courses as possible.
These include algebra, physiology, math, calculus, anatomy, and biology. Having obtained this academic qualification, the next step is pursuing a cytotechnology degree.
Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree
This academic credential is the minimum requirement to join the industry. About 72% of practitioners have bachelor’s degrees in cytotechnology, and 8.7% have higher education.
Consider getting a baccalaureate or undergrad degree from an institution certified by CAAHEP. Some fields in which you may earn your degree include life science, biology, or cytotechnology.
Coursework includes professional development, screening and interpretation, scientific methods of inquiry, and lab operations. Others are basic lab techniques, ancillary testing techniques, research ethics, and cytologic procedures & technologies.
Besides classroom instructions, you’ll also learn various lab techniques. You’ll also receive training in the theoretical aspects of cell growth and abnormalities in normal and disease conditions.
Some programs include internships in their curriculum, so you gain hands-on experience in the lab.
Following your educational pursuit, you can apply for attestation from relevant agencies. The credential is optional to enter the industry.
However, it will improve your prospects with potential employers. Some certifications you can obtain include CT and SCT. ASCP-BOC offers these credentials.
Before you acquire any of these qualifications, you’ll be required to meet certain conditions.
These include finishing a certified cytotechnology program, passing the professional exams, and developing hands-on experience in the lab.
Having received the attestation of your choice, you must update it after two or three years.
Cytotechnologist Certification Exams
The attestation exams comprise 100 multiple-choice questions from eight different areas of the field.
You are to take the test in under two hours, and questions are administered using computer adaptive testing. This means the difficulty level of the questions will continue to increase until they’re answered correctly.
Furthermore, you’ll be allowed to review answers and make changes.
Any solution you change won’t affect the previously answered questions. Questions will be obtained in lab operations, gynecological cytology, body cavity fluids, and respiratory system.
The CT and SCT exams cost $290; you must be licensed before participating. While completing an application form, you’ll be required to pay a non-refundable fee of about $170.
Moreover, you must be 18 years old, pass an exam approved by the board, finish an educational program, and be of excellent character.
License for Certified Cytotechnologist
Only some states in the U.S. require experts in this field to be licensed—only a few demand such credentials from cytotechnologists.
So, you must check with your local licensing boards for the most updated information. The certificate typically allows practitioners to serve unrestrictedly.
Before you can receive a state permit, certain conditions must be met. These include earning an undergrad degree in cytotechnology and passing the licensing exams.
Some states accept the results of ASCP’s certification and issue permits to successful candidates.
How Long Does It Take To Be A Cytotechnologist?
Knowing the time commitment to grow into a certified expert in this field is critical.
If not for anything, it will help you make informed decisions concerning your program choice. It takes an average of five years to satisfy the academic and certification requirements to enter the field.
Most undergrad degrees in this field take around four years to finish. On the other hand, certification requirements might take you one or a year to satisfy them.
Meanwhile, those who desire advanced roles may spend more than six years pursuing this career.
Average Salary of These Medical Workers
The clinical field is lucrative and exciting as well. Based on the statistics from BLS, the average annual earnings of these practitioners are around $55,990.
Those with specialized education and training can receive up to $82,023 annually.
While true, certain factors can influence workers’ pay in this sector. These include your geographical location, work experience, level of education, and the type of facility in which you work.
Employment chances are available in diagnostic cytology, admin, education, and research.
The clinical field is snowballing, and more hands are needed to care for patients with abnormalities in their cells. If you’re concerned about becoming a certified expert in this profession, you can see the appropriate steps to take.
In addition, you can also see some evidence you can obtain and how much practitioners receive. Use this guide to help you make informed career decisions.