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Cytogenetic Technologist - Healthcare Career
Cytogenetics is the branch of biology that deals with cellular structure and function of the chromosomes as they relate to heredity. As genetic research becomes more sophisticated, the need for cytogenetic technologists is growing rapidly.  


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Cytogenetic Technologist Job Description
  Cytogenetic technologists study chromosomes and report their findings to other medical professionals who use the information to evaluate and treat hereditary disorders. The technicians generally work in a laboratory setting where they prepare and study tissue slides using a variety of mediums such as blood, bone marrow, tumor samples or amniotic fluid. The laboratories can be either privately owned or in large medical or government facilities.

The results of the studies show the roles that chromosomes play in birth defects, mental retardation, cancer, hereditary diseases and other medical conditions. These studies are very important as medical science seeks to understand and prevent hereditary disorders.

Technicians need to be very detail oriented, willing to work independently and experienced in the use of lab equipment. They have a variety of duties depending on the laboratory for which they are employed. Working with a variety of instruments such as microscopes and computer programs, they must be familiar with all aspects of their use and the many complex procedures necessary for interpreting information. They must keep accurate records and be able to summarize test results. They are responsible for organizing and communicating correct information to other health professionals.

Cytogenetic technicians may be called on to write research papers and reports for medical journals and other publications. They also may be asked to present research findings at meetings and conferences.

More mundane aspects of the job include cataloging and maintaining equipment and ordering supplies as needed. The technicians may be responsible for ensuring that the laboratory is a clean environment by washing equipment and other supplies or supervising others to maintain cleanliness. The cytogenetic technician plays a pivotal role in the overall structure of the laboratory.
How Can I Become a Cytogenetic Technologist?
  Entry-level employment usually requires a minimum four-year college degree in cytogenetic technology or a related science although some hospitals and laboratories offer two-year cytogenetic programs. The degree programs are balanced with academic classes and clinical laboratory experience. Classroom studies include genetics, biology, immunology and hematology. Clinical laboratory training includes hands-on laboratory techniques and quality control. Many schools also provide internship opportunities. Advanced degree programs offer training in management and research.

Licensure for clinical laboratory technologists is required by some states. This usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree and successful completion of an examination. Some employers require certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. This is obtained by a combination of education, experience and exam results.
What is the Salary of a Cytogenetic Technologist?
  The Mayo School of Health Sciences reports that the starting annual salary for a cytogenetic technologist is from $42,000 to $46,000, depending on the location and type of laboratory. The technologists are in demand with the need constantly increasing, so it is a good healthcare career choice. As the population grows and more genetic tests are developed, a healthcare degree in cytogenetic technology will be a valuable investment in the future and in the future of medical advancement.  
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