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Emerging Occupations

Cytotechnologist

Cytotechnologists are health professionals who analyze cellular changes, which can indicate the presence of specific diseases. By examining slides under a microscope, cytotechnologists can detect pre-cancerous cells, different cancers, and other cellular-based infections.

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

Also Known As

Cytologist, Medical Laboratory Specialist, Medical Laboratory Technologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

This occupation has not yet received an official NOC code. However, it is considered similar to the following historical NOC codes. CAUTION—As this occupation is only similar to these NOC codes, related details and labour market information may not be accurate:

  • 2006 NOC: Medical Laboratory Technologists (3211.1);  Pathologists Assistants (3211.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists Assistants (D211) 
  • 2011 NOC: Medical laboratory technologists (3211) 
  • 2016 NOC: Medical laboratory technologists (3211) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical Laboratory Technologists*
2006 NOC : 3211.1

Interest Codes


*The Cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Pathologists Assistants*
2006 NOC : 3211.2

Interest Codes


*The Cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Cytotechnologists are specialized medical laboratory technologists. In general, they use microscopes to examine cell samples. They do this to detect and identify cellular abnormalities. They also:

  • Prepare cell samples for examination and analysis
  • Evaluate and interpret the shape, size, and colour of cells
  • Report findings to supervising pathologists or physicians
  • Perform manual and automated testing on clinical samples
  • Help doctors prepare samples, such as with fine-needle aspiration biopsies
  • Follow environmental, health, and safety procedures to handle and dispose of hazardous materials
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

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

Lab work involves considerable neck, shoulder, and back strain. This comes with sitting or standing at a microscope and using other equipment for long periods. They must follow standard safety precautions to avoid infection or injury. They must do this at all times, whether working with patients, specimens, or hazardous chemicals.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Cytotechnologists need:

  • Integrity and a professional attitude
  • An interest in cell biology and tumour formation
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Colour and form perception to study cells
  • Communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • The ability to do repetitive tasks, such as screening a large volume of slides, for long periods of time

They should enjoy being methodical, analyzing results, and establishing procedures. They should be comfortable using computers. They also should enjoy working with specialized instruments for accurate and precise testing.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

* The Cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group

Medical laboratory technologists*

NOC code: 3211

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 11 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 14, 2021 and Jul 03, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Conduct quality control assessment of testing techniques
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Set up medical laboratory equipment
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation. People working in this occupation may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

The minimum educational requirement to work as a cytotechnologist is a two-year diploma in cytotechnology or a related technology field such as medical laboratory or clinical genetics.


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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists perform various lab tests and procedures to help doctors diagnose, monitor, treat and prevent disease and maintain heath.

Legislation

Medical laboratory technologists are regulated under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Medical Laboratory Technologists Profession Regulation [pdf]. You must register with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA) to:

  • 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
  • supervise registered members who provide services to the public.

 Only registered members may call themselves Medical Laboratory Technologists.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • An increased human need
  • 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 it is unknown.

Cytotechnologists work for:

  • Hospital laboratories
  • Private laboratories
  • Fertility clinics
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Research laboratories

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

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3211: Medical laboratory technologists* occupational group, 93.1% of people work in:

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Cytotechnologist occupation.

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment

Explore emerging workplace trends in Alberta that could affect this occupation.

In Alberta, the 3211: Medical laboratory technologists* occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.7% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 93 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Cytotechnologist occupation.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current provincial 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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical laboratory technologists*

2016 NOC : 3211
*The cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Average Wage
$31.10
Per Hour
Average Salary
$44,985.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3211 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $36.81 $26.17 $20.97
Overall $23.00 $45.90 $31.10 $23.00
Top $29.00 $47.30 $37.21 $32.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
N/A
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
N/A
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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