The cytotechnologist works in the laboratory under the direct supervision of the pathologist. During 12 months of intensive training (both didactic and practicum) the student is trained to collect and analyze specimens for early detection of cancer and for other pathological conditions.
Although most of the work involves vaginal smears, considerable attention is also directed to any part of the body from which fluids can be obtained. Recent development of the technique of fine needle aspiration has permitted obtaining diagnostic samples from otherwise inaccessible sites. Cytological techniques can also be used to detect diseases involving hormonal imbalances, infectious disorders, and pathological processes.
The cytotechnology profession has been characterized by tremendous growth and expansion in the past decade. Students are in short supply at a time when job opportunities abound. Although most cytotechnologists work in hospital laboratories, opportunities also exist in private clinics, in industry and in research laboratories. The work of the cytotechnologist can be very rewarding, especially for those interested in contributing to a dynamic, respected medical profession.
The Department of Biology at Slippery Rock University offers a curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree. During three years on campus, the student must earn a minimum of 96 semester hours of credit. The senior year is spent in 12 months of intensive training at an accredited hospital school of cytotechnology. Upon successful completion of the clinical year of training, for which the university accepts 32 semester hours of transfer credit, the degree is awarded. Admission to the clinical year of training is competitive and is not guaranteed. To achieve cytotechnologist certification, students must pass a National Registry Examination.
Affiliated Schools of Cytotechnology
Slippery Rock University enjoys formal affiliations with Fletcher Allen Health Care (Burlington, VT) and Albany Medical College (Albany, NY).
Because of the nature of the cytotechnology program, it is strongly recommended that no more than 32 semester hours of credit be transferred into the program, not including the 32 semester hours accepted in transfer for the clinical year of training. For further information, please contact the Department of Biology Chair or the Paramedical Program Director.