University of Nebraska Medical Center

What is a cytologist?

The Profession

Virtual microscopy through the double-headed microscope

Diagnostic Cytology is the study of cells. Cytologists perform microscopic evaluation of patient samples to diagnose cancer, precancerous lesions, benign tumors, infectious agents, and inflammatory processes.

This skill set can be taken to the patient bedside where cytologists assist on fine needle aspirations. By evaluating patient samples collected in real-time, cytologists contribute to patient satisfaction, hospital efficiency, and diagnostic support.

As high complexity technologists, cytologists are now performing ancillary laboratory techniques such as grossing small biopsies, molecular testing, evaluating special stains, etc.

A cytologist, also known as cytotechnologist, can also be a molecular technologist, supervisor, manager, or educator.

Starting wage for a cytologist: $72,184
Middle-range wage: $80,140
Job after graduation from the UNMC Diagnostic Cytology program: 100%

Cytology offers exciting possibilities for those interested in a career in science and a significant role in health care.

What can I do next?

Review academic program & requirements
If you'd like to find out about our program to become a diagnostic cytologist, review the cytology academics information and requirements.
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