Cytogenetic Technologist Career

Job Description: Analyze chromosomes or chromosome segments found in biological specimens, such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, solid tumors, and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, classification, or treatment of inherited or acquired genetic diseases. Conduct analyses through classical cytogenetic, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) or array comparative genome hybridization (aCGH) techniques.


Is Cytogenetic Technologist the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Cytogenetic Technologist Career

What Cytogenetic Technologists do:

  • Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.
  • Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
  • Communicate to responsible parties unacceptable specimens and suggest remediation for future submissions.
  • Evaluate appropriateness of received specimens for requested tests.
  • Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
  • Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
  • Create chromosome images using computer imaging systems.
  • Harvest cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.
  • 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.
  • Select appropriate culturing system or procedure based on specimen type and reason for referral.
  • Select banding methods to permit identification of chromosome pairs.
  • Select or prepare specimens and media for cell cultures using aseptic techniques, knowledge of medium components, or cell nutritional requirements.
  • Stain slides to make chromosomes visible for microscopy.
  • Supervise subordinate laboratory staff.
  • Archive case documentation and study materials as required by regulations and laws.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor quality control and quality assurance programs to ensure accurate and precise test performance and reports.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.
  • Prepare slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.
  • Summarize test results and report to appropriate authorities.
  • Describe chromosome, FISH and aCGH analysis results in International System of Cytogenetic Nomenclature (ISCN) language.
  • Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.
  • Input details of specimens into logs or computer systems.
  • Identify appropriate methods of specimen collection, preservation, or transport.
  • Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.
  • Recognize and report abnormalities in the color, size, shape, composition, or pattern of cells.
  • Select appropriate methods of preparation and storage of media to maintain potential of hydrogen (pH), sterility, or ability to support growth.
  • Apply prepared specimen and control to appropriate grid, run instrumentation, and produce analyzable results.
  • Communicate test results or technical information to patients, physicians, family members, or researchers.
  • Extract, measure, dilute as appropriate, label, and prepare DNA for array analysis.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Holland Code Chart for a Cytogenetic Technologist