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What is Cytotechnology?

Cytotechnology is a clinical diagnostic discipline that primarily deals with the recognition and identification of abnormal cells, such as those found in cancers, pre-cancerous tissues, and viral infections. The majority of cytotechnologists find work in either a hospital diagnostic center or in research laboratories, and spend significant amounts of time examining clinical specimens for abnormalities. Such specimens may include Pap smears, tissue scrapings from other body locations, biopsy samples, and fine-needle aspirates from sites where tumors have been found or suspected.  In this capacity, the cytotechnologist plays an important role in early detection of cancer, diagnosis of cancers, and routine screening.  While cytotechnologists usually work with a pathologist in the diagnosis of detected cancers, they work independently otherwise and make crucial decisions in the process of cancer screening. The clinical internship in cytotechnology, which comprises the fourth year of study in the B.S. degree program here at Plattsburgh State, therefore consists of 12 months of intensive (often one-on-one) hands-on training to prepare students for this challenging career. A sampling of coursework and training in the internship (including just some of the major cancers that can be detected) includes:

At the successful completion of the internship, the cytotechnology student will graduate from Plattsburgh State and take the ASCP Board of Registry examination for certification in cytotechnology. Once certified, the career outlook for the graduate is excellent, since many laboratories nationwide report recruiting shortfalls to fill vacancies.

Other useful links with information about Cytotechnology

What is a Cytotechnologist - American Society for Cytotechnology
The Cytotechnologist
- Career resource flyer (ASCP)
Careers in the Medical Laboratory - overview (ASCP) 

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