A cytotechnologist (CT) is a clinical laboratory professional who specializes in the detection of diseases and infections by analyzing tissue and fluid specimens. Cytotechnologists work in hospitals, private medical laboratories, government, and academic settings to conduct research and help pathologists diagnose and treat diseases like cancer.
A cytotechnologist must follow strict procedures and work diligently to prepare cell specimens and examine slides for abnormalities such as precancerous lesions, inflammation, or bacterial infections.
A cytotechnologist must:
- Use high-powered microscopes and other medical laboratory equipment used to examine specimens
- Make note of cellular changes that could indicate the presence of a disease at the cellular level, and report their findings to a pathologist (when working in a healthcare environment)
- Take care to prevent contamination of the specimens through the consistent use of good laboratory practices and techniques
- Communicate clearly and efficiently with co-workers and supervisors
- Graduate from an accredited Cytotechnology training program at either the baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate level
In addition to maintaining a working knowledge of good clinical practice and professional standards, a cytotechnologist must be comfortable working in a sterile, controlled laboratory environment where they may be required to handle biological materials that could contain infectious agents.
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