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Cytogenetic Technologist

Overview and Key Facts

person looking in microscope
Education
Education
Bachelor's degree
Median Pay
Median Pay
$57,800
Job Growth
Job Growth
6.60%
(Above US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031
351,000

What Do They Do?

A cytogenetic technologist could...

Overview Listen to this section

I have black hair, you have blonde hair. I have blue eyes, you have brown eyes. These, and other characteristics, describe what we look like, how tall we are, and even what our personality is, and they are all controlled by our chromosomes. Chromosomes are packages within each of our cells that hold our genes. Our chromosomes also determine if we might inherit any genetic diseases or if birth defects are present. Extracting, testing, and examining the chromosomes from cells is the job of the cytogenetic technologist. Cytogenetic technologists work with physicians to help diagnose and treat diseases and understand human development. This is a career in which you know you will be helping someone every single day.
In this video, Alana, who is enrolled in the Michener Institute's Genetics Technology program, explains more about this field and why she finds it so gratifying.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Cytogenetic Technologist?


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Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks a Cytogenetic Technologist might do:
  • Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.
  • Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
  • Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
  • Prepare biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, tumors, chorionic villi, and blood, for chromosome examinations.
  • Recognize and report abnormalities in the color, size, shape, composition, or pattern of cells.
  • Communicate test results or technical information to patients, physicians, family members, or researchers.
  • Create chromosome images using computer imaging systems.
  • Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.
  • Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
  • Harvest cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.
  • Identify appropriate methods of specimen collection, preservation, or transport.
  • Prepare slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.
  • Select appropriate methods of preparation and storage of media to maintain potential of hydrogen (pH), sterility, or ability to support growth.
  • Select banding methods to permit identification of chromosome pairs.
  • Select or prepare specimens and media for cell cultures using aseptic techniques, knowledge of medium components, or cell nutritional requirements.
  • Stain slides to make chromosomes visible for microscopy.
  • Summarize test results and report to appropriate authorities.
  • Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.
  • Input details of specimens into logs or computer systems.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.
  • Supervise subordinate laboratory staff.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming a Cytogenetic Technologist

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