Cytogenetic Technologists

Health Science > Diagnostic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Cytogenetic Technologists include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 73.08% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 19.23% said they needed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.


    Evaluate appropriateness of received specimens for requested tests.

    Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.

    Stain slides to make chromosomes visible for microscopy.

    Select or prepare specimens and media for cell cultures using aseptic techniques, knowledge of medium components, or cell nutritional requirements.

    Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.

    Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.

    Archive case documentation and study materials as required by regulations and laws.

    Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.

    Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.

    Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.

    Supervise subordinate laboratory staff.

    Select banding methods to permit identification of chromosome pairs.

    Input details of specimen processing, analysis, and technical issues into logs or laboratory information systems (LIS).

    Prepare biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, tumors, chorionic villi, and blood, for chromosome examinations.

    Harvest cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.

    Select appropriate culturing system or procedure based on specimen type and reason for referral.

    Create chromosome images using computer imaging systems.

    Develop, implement, and monitor quality control and quality assurance programs to ensure accurate and precise test performance and reports.

    Prepare slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.

    Summarize test results and report to appropriate authorities.

    Input details of specimens into logs or computer systems.

    Describe chromosome, FISH and aCGH analysis results in Internations System of Cytogenetic Nomenclature (ISCN) language.

    Identify appropriate methods of specimen collection, preservation, or transport.

    Select appropriate methods of preparation and storage of media to maintain potential of hydrogen (pH), sterility, or ability to support growth.

    Recognize and report abnormalities in the color, size, shape, composition, or pattern of cells.

    Apply prepared specimen and control to appropriate grid, run instrumentation, and produce analyzable results.

    Extract, measure, dilute as appropriate, label, and prepare DNA for array analysis.

    Communicate test results or technical information to patients, physicians, family members, or researchers.

    Communicate to responsible parties unacceptable specimens and suggest remediation for future submissions.

    Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.


Water deionizers

Water baths

Vortex mixers

Uncooled charge-coupled device cameras

Ultrasonic sterilization units

Test tube racks


All Tools

Stereo microscopes

Steam autoclaves

Slide sorters

Slide cassettes

Safety gloves

Robotic harvesters

Reference thermometers

Pipette aids


Phase contrast microscopes

pH meters

Microscope slides

Microscope filters

Microscope camera adapters

Microarray scanners

Metaphase finding system software

Mercury vapor lamps

Media filtration systems


Low speed refrigerated centrifuges

Liquid nitrogen containers

Laboratory refrigerators

Laboratory microwave ovens

Laboratory freezers

Inverted compound microscopes



Hybridization ovens

Hot air sterilizers

Heated magnetic stirrers

Glass water distillers

Glass flasks

Fluorescent microscopes

Fluorescent in situ hybridization FISH automation instruments

Floor model drying chambers

Flat bottom microtiter plates

Digital image printers

Digital cameras

Desktop computers

Denaturation/hybridization systems

Counting chambers

Computerized karotype equipment

Cell harvesters

Cell culture tubes

Biological safety cabinets

Biological containment hoods

Binocular compound microscopes

Benchtop drying chambers

Bench-top autoclaves

Automatic slide loading systems

Automated imaging systems

4 ml cryovials

35m petri dishes

25 ml pipettes

2 ml cryovials

10 ml pipettes

1 ml pipettes


Cell Bioscience Automated Image Capture

Digital karyotyping software

Genetix CytoVision

Genial Genetics iPassport QMS

Genial Genetics Shire

Geniel Genetics iGene

Image analysis software

All Technologies

Image capture software


Lucia CGH

Lucia Comet Assay

Lucia FISH

Lucia Karyo

Lucia Metaphase Finder


MetaSystems Isis Color Karyotyping


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.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

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