Cytotechnology

two women look through microscopes

Turn your interest in biology and detailed data analysis into an exciting career in health care. The Certificate in Cytotechnology from UW–Madison provides the expertise needed to assist clinicians in detecting cancer in its earliest stage.


Is this program right for you?

The medical field involves much more than doctors and nurses. Nearly 80% of medical decisions are based on laboratory test results. Cytotechnologists—the people who study cells obtained from almost all body systems—are one type of laboratory professional in the field. The UW–Madison Certificate in Cytotechnology is an accelerated program that allows you to help people you have never met by working behind the scenes of patient care.

Cytotechnologists search for and interpret cell changes so that doctors can intervene and make patient care decisions. Cytopathology increasingly incorporates molecular oncology into its domain as the field of cancer genetics progresses. The job carries with it a huge level of responsibility, as well as many opportunities for employment in a variety of labs found in hospitals, clinics, research institutes, and the private sector.

If you are interested in biology, data, details, and working independently—and have a background in biology or biochemistry—a career in cytotechnology could be for you. Many of our students have bachelor’s degrees and come to UW–Madison for a single year to complete their Certificate in Cytotechnology. Instruction takes place in a very small group of students under the supervision of people who are committed to your success.

You will leave our program ready to assist the medical community and patients. Our goal is to have you enter as a student and leave as a peer with whom we collaborate throughout your career.

Is this program right for you?

The medical field involves much more than doctors and nurses. Nearly 80% of medical decisions are based on laboratory test results. Cytotechnologists—the people who study cells obtained from almost all body systems—are one type of laboratory professional in the field. The UW–Madison Certificate in Cytotechnology is an accelerated program that allows you to help people you have never met by working behind the scenes of patient care.

Cytotechnologists search for and interpret cell changes so that doctors can intervene and make patient care decisions. Cytopathology increasingly incorporates molecular oncology into its domain as the field of cancer genetics progresses. The job carries with it a huge level of responsibility, as well as many opportunities for employment in a variety of labs found in hospitals, clinics, research institutes, and the private sector.

If you are interested in biology, data, details, and working independently—and have a background in biology or biochemistry—a career in cytotechnology could be for you. Many of our students have bachelor’s degrees and come to UW–Madison for a single year to complete their Certificate in Cytotechnology. Instruction takes place in a very small group of students under the supervision of people who are committed to your success.

You will leave our program ready to assist the medical community and patients. Our goal is to have you enter as a student and leave as a peer with whom we collaborate throughout your career.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or be enrolled as a cytotechnology major at an affiliated university or college with a minimum grade point (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Have completed 20 credits of college-level biological sciences, ideally cellular biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, and organic chemistry.

To apply:

  • Online application to Cytotechnology Program.
  • Official transcripts. Applicants from outside the U.S. must submit an official transcript or copy that has been reviewed by an ASCP-approved evaluation agency.
  • Brief essay describing your interest in pursing a career in cytotechnology.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Applications accepted for fall enrollment.

Program Highlights

  • Our program is like having a job in a laboratory. In the fall, you learn in the classroom, and then from April to August, you do clinical rotations in hospitals and labs. By the time you complete your certificate, you are well prepared to sit for your board certification.
  • In addition to teaching you lab skills, we help you refine your career goals, resume, and can even help connect you to an open cytotechnologist position.
  • We are connected with medical facilities across Wisconsin and throughout the country, and are often asked to help fill open positions for cytotechnologists.

How You'll Learn

  • Classes and labs meet Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Move through the program with a cohort of 12 or fewer students.
  • In your first two semesters, attend lectures and discussions, with 400 hours at a microscope.
  • At the end of your second semester, take a series of comprehensive exams that test your knowledge of cytopathology.
  • Your third semester is devoted to supervised microscopy of clinical specimens; you also rotate through various clinical settings to gain practical experience in advanced laboratory procedures, quality assurance, and cytogenetics.

Sample Curriculum

Fall

  • Basic Cytology and Laboratory Practices
  • The Female Genital System
  • The Genitourinary System
  • The Respiratory System

Spring

  • The Breast
  • The Gastrointestinal System
  • Seminar in Clinical Cytology
  • Effusions
  • The Central Nervous System
  • Miscellaneous Systems
  • Applied Cytology I
  • Advanced Laboratory Practices
  • Seminar in Clinical Cytogenetics
  • Seminar in Laboratory Operations and Quality Assurance

Summer

  • Applied Cytology II
  • Clinical Practice II

Job Outlook

Market Salary
$54K in 2018

Projected Job Growth
11.6% for Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

Job Postings
1,175 in 2018

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2019.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

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  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
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  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

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