in the School of Health Professions
in the School of Health Professions
Cytotechnology is a specialty devoted to the study of cells and the early detection of cancer.
At MD Anderson, the curriculum is infused with interactive lectures, hands-on training in state-of-the-art simulation laboratories, and clinical experiences that provide students with unparalleled learning opportunities. The program culminates in a twelve-week clinical rotation and exceptionally prepares students for challenging and rewarding careers as cytotechnologists.
The program offers two tracks leading to the Bachelor of Science degree.
Cytotechnologists are versatile, highly specialized members of the Anatomic Pathology team. They work closely with pathologists and are primarily focused on microscopically identifying infectious agents and abnormal cellular changes, including those associated with cancer.
In this era of precision medicine, the scope of practice for the field of cytotechnology is evolving! In addition to evaluating the cellular morphology of preparations, cytotechnologists often perform ancillary high-complexity testing, like Urovysion testing in cytogenetics, HPV genotyping in the diagnostic molecular lab, preliminary immunohistochemical stain analysis and flow cytometric assays to evaluate solid tumors. Today, cytotechnologists are being trained to correlate concurrent test results with cytologic findings to assist pathologists and clinicians with solving diagnostic puzzles.
If you are seeking a career that’s challenging and incredibly rewarding – one that allows you to play a key role in connecting the pieces of the diagnostic puzzle to render a diagnosis, then Cytotechnology may be the field for you!
Catherine Bammert, Ph.D.,CT,MB(ASCP)CM
Wendong Yu, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology
MD Anderson Cancer Center
The Cytotechnology program is accredited by and has conformed its curriculum to the standards published and monitored by the:
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP
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The program has developed affiliations with reference labs and medical institutions in Texas, so that students will develop expertise in a variety of settings and experience the breadth of opportunity available to a certified cytotechnologist. During the clinical phase of instruction, training and supervision are provided in affiliated clinical laboratories.
Nationally, there is a tremendous shortage of cytotechnologists. According to surveys and articles authored by professional societies, there are approximately 500 unfilled cytotechnology positions in the United States with 16% of the current practicing cytotechnologists expected to retire within the next five years.
The shortage of cytotechnologists is intensifying due to the fact that, for the past five years, an average of 134 new cytotechnologists are taking the national registry exam and entering the workforce each year. Additionally, there are not many accredited Cytotechnology Schools in the nation. While they have the ability to accept and train additional students, they are only filling to 68% capacity.
Over the past three active years of the program (2017 and 2020-2021), 100% of the students who started our program completed it. During the same period of time, 86% passed the ASCP Board of Certification Exam.
As the number of job cytotechnologist vacancies continues to outpace the number of licensed technologists, our graduates have enjoyed an incredibly favorable (97%) placement rate over the past three active years of the program. In 2022, 100% of the students received job offers prior to graduation.