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Cytogenetic Technologist

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

Sample of Reported Job Title

Cytogenetic Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Cytogenetics (CLSp(CG))

 

Summary

Cytogenetic technologists are laboratory specialists who study normal and abnormal chromosomes in cells, and their relationship to disease and human development. These include birth defects, fertility problems, and blood disorders. They examine the chromosomes present in blood, amniotic fluid, and bone marrow using slide preparations and tissue cultures. Cytogenetic technologists use karotyping and fluorescent-labeled DNA (FISH technique) to detect gene and chromosome abnormalities.

As part of the daily requirements for the job, the cytogenetic technologist must know how to harvest and culture living cells, understand chromosomal morphology, chromosomal analysis, and be familiar with the more than 20 different methods for visualizing chromosomes. They must also keep meticulous records in order to communicate effectively with physicians, family members, and researchers requesting technical information or test results.

 

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in cytogenetic technology, biotechnology, biology, or related science at an accredited college or university is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position in this field. Undergraduate curricula includes biology, genetics, cytogenetics, hematology, immunology, laboratory techniques and quality control.

After earning a bachelor's degree, most candidates enter a post-graduate program in cytogenetic technology to become certified. The certification program can take 1-2 years to complete.

A master's degree in cytogenetic technology can lead to a job as a lab manager or supervisor, genetic counselor, or research associate at a corporate laboratory. Master's degree curricula includes management classes and training in supervision and research techniques.

 

Median Salary 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a Cytogenic Technologist in 2018 was $60,280.

 

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Information retrieved from O*NET Online: Cytogenetic Technologists, Science Buddies: Cytogenetic Technologist and MD Anderson Cancer Center: Cytogenetic Technology Program.

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