The study of the cell structure

High School Preparation

A high school diploma or GED will be required for a career in cytotechnology since a bachelor's degree is required.  The minimum suggested high school curriculum includes

  • Mathematics through algebra
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • English composition

Education Required

Cytotechnologists must earn bachelor's degrees and complete an accredited education program.  The accredited education program may be included in the bachelor's degree requirements or may be a certificate program following college graduation.  Preparation for an accredited program should include

  • College mathematics through algebra
  • Chemistry, including inorganic and organic
  • General biology
  • English composition
  • Basic computer skills

Additional recommended courses would include: biochemistry, statistics, cell and molecular biology, histology, and anatomy.

The curriculum of the professional phase of course work, either within the bachelors' degree or during the internship will include:

  • Preparation of cytology specimens
  • Gynecologic cytopathology
  • Non-gynecologic exfoliative cytopathology
  • Fine needle aspiration cytology Carcinogenesis

To support the roles of cytotechnologists as supervisors and managers in laboratories, cytotechnology curriculums will also incdude:

  • Laboratory management = including financial management of the laboratory; hiring and training of personnel; quality assurance activities; regulations affecting laboratories


Cytotechnologists who have completed accredited educational programs are eligible for the national certification examination.  The national exam allows cytology professionals to demonstrate their knowledge of cytological procedures and techniques.  Employers prefer to hire certified individuals.

Some states will require cytotechnologists to be licensed.