Cytotechnologists are allied health professionals trained in cytotechnology; they evaluate specimens on glass slides using microscopes. While computer technologies perform an initial evaluation, the cytotechnologist performs the secondary evaluation and determines whether a specimen is normal or abnormal. Abnormal specimens are referred to a pathologist for final interpretation.
Different countries have different certification requirements and standards for cytotechnologists. In the United States, after earning a baccalaureate degree, individuals attend an accredited program in cytotechnology for 1 or 2 years, and are then eligible to take a certification exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The American Society for Cytotechnology sets U.S. professional standards, monitors legislative and regulatory issues, and provides education.