Schools with Cytology Programs
Cytology is another name for the field of cell biology. Schools typically offer cytology programs in related areas like cytotechnology and cytopathology. Read about bachelor's, master's and certificate programs in these fields, and find out what you'd learn at each program level. Review certification options for cytotechnologists. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Do I Find a School with a Cytology Program?
The searchable database of the National Center for Education Statistics can provide you with a list of 29 schools that offer programs in cytology. However, the online database offered by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) names 33 schools, laboratories or hospitals that feature at least one program in cytotechnology. Many cytotechnology programs are available through a university's health sciences school or department.
What Degrees Are Available?
The CAAHEP recognizes 21 schools that offer a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Cytotechnology. Typically, schools require you to complete a heavy schedule of biology and chemistry courses during your freshman and sophomore years. These can include cellular biochemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology and microbiology.
Core courses typically cover fine-needle aspiration, respiratory cytology and gynecological cytology. In addition, you'll need to complete a supervised clinical internship at an approved cytology laboratory. You might have the opportunity to tailor your curriculum so that it becomes a pre-med or pre-physician assistant program.
According to the CAAHEP, there are three schools in the United States that offer an accredited program leading to either a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Laboratory Science in Cytopathology, Master of Cytopathology Practice or M.S. in Cytotechnology. Completion can take 1-3 years, depending on the specifics of the program. You may be required to hold a bachelor's degree in the physical or life sciences in order to qualify for admission.
Some schools offer a 3 + 2 program. In this type of program, you'll complete three years of undergraduate study, with a coursework emphasis on chemistry and biology. You then may be admitted into a 2-year program of study, culminating in a bachelor's and master's degree or just a master's degree. In most master's programs, you'll be required to complete one or more clinical practicums that can last up to a year.
Is There a Certificate Program I Can Pursue?
There are 16 accredited certificate programs listed by the CAAHEP. You'll usually need to have a bachelor's degree in order to enroll in a certificate program. Though your bachelor's degree doesn't have to be in cytotechnology, it should have a heavy emphasis in the biological sciences, chemistry and mathematics.
A certificate program typically takes one year to complete. You'll study the principles of cytology and pathology, numerous cytological techniques, cytology issues, anatomy and histology. You might be required to participate in a clinical practicum in order to earn your certificate.
Am I Certified Once I Graduate?
Graduation does not confer certification. Successful completion of a bachelor's degree or certificate program qualifies you to sit for the certified cytotechnologist exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Successful completion of this exam can lead to the CT (ASCP) designation.
If you have a bachelor's degree, CT (ASCP) certification and three years of full-time cytology work experience, you may qualify to sit for the cytotechnology specialist exam. You can earn the SCT (ASCP) designation by passing this test.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: