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Updated / 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.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 3,800
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage*

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A
*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Cytotechnologist occupation
Average Wage*
Starting
Overall
Top
*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Cytotechnologist occupation
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Cytotechnologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

*The Cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Medical Laboratory Technologists
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


*The Cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Pathologists Assistants
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 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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

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 Mar 31, 2019

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.

What You Need

Medical laboratory technologists may be registered as a General MLT, Diagnostic Cytology MLT or Clinical Genetics MLT. The designation depends on their education and the corresponding national certification exam. Registration requires successful completion of:

  • an approved two-year diploma or bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory science
  • an approved examination.

Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time 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 in Canada? and the CMLTA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated medical laboratory technologists, see Medical Laboratory Technologist Registration Process on the Opportunity Alberta website.

Contact Details

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta
301, 9426 - 51 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5A6
Canada

Call: 780-435-5452
Toll-free: 1-800-265-9351
Fax number: 780-437-1442
Email: info@cmlta.org
Website: www.cmlta.org

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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 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.

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

In Alberta, the D211: Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists Assistants occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.7% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 74 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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.


*The cytotechnologist is similar to this NOC group
Medical laboratory technologists

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 $28.31 $39.27 $33.56 $33.98
Overall $38.62 $42.06 $39.78 $39.36
Top $44.75 $50.64 $46.54 $44.75

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
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

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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