Cytogenetic Technologists

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About the Job

Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, or treatment of genetic diseases.

It is also Called

  • Technical Specialist, Cytogenetics
  • Senior Cytogenetics Laboratory Director
  • Senior Cytogenetic Technologist
  • Research Laboratory Specialist (Research Lab Specialist)
  • Medical Laboratory Specialist (Medical Lab Specialist)
  • Lead Technologist in Cytogenetics
  • Lead Cytogenetic Technologist
  • Laboratory Technologist (Lab Technologist)
  • Laboratory Specialist (Lab Specialist)
  • Head of Cytogenetics
View All

What They Do

  • Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.
  • Supervise subordinate laboratory staff.
  • Archive case documentation and study materials as required by regulations and laws.
  • Identify appropriate methods of specimen collection, preservation, or transport.
  • Communicate to responsible parties unacceptable specimens and suggest remediation for future submissions.
  • Evaluate appropriateness of received specimens for requested tests.
  • Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor quality control and quality assurance programs to ensure accurate and precise test performance and reports.
  • Select appropriate methods of preparation and storage of media to maintain potential of hydrogen (pH), sterility, or ability to support growth.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Independence and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Preparation Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.


In 2016, the average annual wage in California was $80,500 with most people making between $44,330 and $115,530


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 10,800 people in California. It is projected that there will be 12,900 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 210 openings due to growth and about 260 replacement openings for approximately 470 total annual openings.