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Occupational Profile
Emerging Occupations

Cytotechnologist

Cytotechnologists examine slides of prepared cells under a microscope for evidence of cell abnormalities or disease.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,600
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Cytologist, Medical Laboratory Specialist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Cytotechnologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Laboratory Technologists
NOC code: 3211.1
METHODICAL

Interest in supervising and training other medical laboratory technicians and laboratory workers; and in performing blood group, type and compatibility tests for transfusion purposes; may supervise and train other medical laboratory technologists

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing results of laboratory tests; and in establishing procedures for the analyses of specimens and for medical laboratory experiments

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with laboratory equipment to conduct chemical analyses of blood, urine, cerebro-spinal and other body fluids, and to prepare tissue sections for microscopic examinations using techniques to demonstrate special cellular tissue elements and other characteristics; may perform the duties of a pathologist's assistant in some hospitals

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Pathologists Assistants
NOC code: 3211.2
METHODICAL

Interest in assisting pathologists to prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations; and in cleaning and maintaining autopsy, surgical and other equipment

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with autopsy and surgical equipment to weigh and photograph organs and specimens; may perform the duties of a medical laboratory technologist in some hospitals

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling findings from chemical analyses of collected tissue specimens

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Cytotechnologists are specialized medical laboratory technologists. In general, cytotechnologists:

  • use microscopes to examine cell samples, and detect and identify cellular abnormalities
  • prepare cell samples for examination and analysis 
  • evaluate shape, size and colour of cells and provide interpretation
  • report findings to supervising pathologists or physicians
  • perform manual and automated testing on clinical samples
  • assist physicians in the preparation of samples (for example, assist with fine needle aspiration biopsies)
  • follow environmental, health and safety procedures to handle and dispose of hazardous materials.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Working hours vary depending on the type of laboratory in which cytotechnologists work. Research laboratories usually operate weekdays only. In diagnostic clinical laboratories, cytotechnologists may work rotating shifts of days, evenings and nights including weekends and holidays.

Lab work involves considerable neck, shoulder and back strain from working with microscopes and other equipment for long periods of time. Most work involves sitting, although some work may be done while standing.

Standard safety precautions must be followed at all times when working with patients, specimens or hazardous chemicals to avoid infection or injury.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Cytotechnologists need the following characteristics:

  • integrity and a professional attitude
  • an interest in cell biology and tumour formation
  • the ability to perform detailed work and maintain a high level of accuracy
  • the ability to do microscopic work for extended periods of time
  • good colour and form perception (to study cells)
  • strong decision making and problem solving skills
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work independently as well as part of a team.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, analyzing results and establishing procedures, and using computers and specialized instruments for accurate and precise testing.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

The minimum educational requirement to work as a cytotechnologist is a two year diploma in cytotechnology.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Outside of Alberta, the following Canadian schools offer post-secondary programs related to cytotechnology: 

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists collect and analyze biological samples, perform quality control procedures and communicate results that have been critically evaluated to ensure accuracy and reliability, and teach, manage and conduct research in the science and techniques of medical laboratory technology.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Medical Laboratory Technologists Profession Regulation, registration with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA) is mandatory if you meet identified registration requirements and conduct laboratory tests that are used by other regulated members to provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Only registered members may call themselves Medical Laboratory Technologists.

Education

Medical laboratory technologists may be registered as a General MLT, Diagnostic Cytology MLT or Clinical Genetics MLT depending on their education and the corresponding national certification exam. Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved two year diploma or bachelor's degree program in medical laboratory science, and (2) an approved examination. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CMLTA website. For certification information, visit the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science website.

Working in Alberta

Medical laboratory technologists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered practitioners in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated medical laboratory technologists, see Medical Laboratory Technologist Registration Process on the AlbertaCanada.com website.

Contact Details

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta
301, 9426 - 51 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T6E 5A6
Phone: 780-435-5452
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-265-9351
Fax number: 780-437-1442
Email: mailto:info@cmlta.org
Website: www.cmlta.org

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, for early cancer detection)
  • technological advances
  • greater specialization within an occupation.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation but future demand for cytotechnologists is unknown. 

Cytotechnologists are employed by:

  • hospital laboratories
  • private laboratories
  • fertility clinics
  • post-secondary schools
  • research laboratories.

Most work opportunities are located in large urban centres. With further education and experience, cytotechnologists may move into supervisory positions in laboratories or into administrative, teaching or marketing positions.

Cytotechnologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3211: Medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants.  In Alberta, 89% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current salary data is available for this occupation.

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Medical laboratory technologists
NOC code: 3211

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.91 $35.64 $33.48 $32.91
Overall $38.97 $45.80 $41.56 $40.58
Top $43.33 $49.26 $44.49 $43.33

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) website: www.csmls.org

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta website: cmlta.org

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 02, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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