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Cytogenetic Technologists
SOC Code: 29-2011.01

Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, or treatment of genetic diseases.

Sample of reported job titles: Clinical Cytogeneticist Scientist (CCS); Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Cytogenetics (CLSp(CG)); Cytogenetic Technologist; Cytogenetics Laboratory Manager (Cytogenetics Lab Manager); Head of Cytogenetics; Lead Cytogenetic Technologist; Lead Technologist in Cytogenetics; Senior Cytogenetic Technologist; Senior Cytogenetics Laboratory Director; Technical Specialist, Cytogenetics


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

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Cell Bioscience Automated Image Capture; Geniel Genetics iGene; Lucia MFISH; MetaSystems Isis Color Karyotyping (see all 14 examples)
  • Data base user interface and query software - Genial Genetics iPassport QMS; Genial Genetics Shire
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel

Tools Used

  • Binocular light compound microscopes - Binocular compound microscopes
  • Counters - Counting chambers
  • Cryogenic or liquid nitrogen freezers - Liquid nitrogen containers
  • Culture tubes - Cell culture tubes
  • Darkfield microscopes - Phase contrast microscopes
  • Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers - Computerized karotype equipment; Fluorescent in situ hybridization FISH automation instruments; Metaphase finding system software
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras - Uncooled charge-coupled device cameras
  • Digital image printers
  • Distillation pipings or columns or fittings - Glass water distillers
  • Dropping pipettes - 1 ml pipettes; 10 ml pipettes; 25 ml pipettes
  • Dry heat or hot air sterilizers - Hot air sterilizers
  • Dry wall single chamber carbon dioxide incubators - Incubators
  • Fluorescent microscopes - Automated imaging systems
  • Fume hoods or cupboards - Biological containment hoods
  • General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers - Laboratory refrigerators
  • Histological staining apparatus - Automatic slide loading systems
  • Hybridization ovens or incubators - Denaturation/hybridization systems; Hybridization ovens
  • Interferometers
  • Inverted microscopes - Inverted compound microscopes
  • Ion exchange apparatus - Water deionizers
  • Laboratory filtration hardware or accessories - Media filtration systems
  • Laboratory flasks - Glass flasks
  • Laboratory incubator thermometers - Reference thermometers
  • Laboratory microwave ovens
  • Laboratory vials - 2 ml cryovials; 4 ml cryovials
  • Magnetic stirrers - Heated magnetic stirrers
  • Medical staff isolation or surgical masks - Masks
  • Mercury vapor lamp HID - Mercury vapor lamps
  • Microscope condensers - Microscope filters
  • Microscope slide racks - Slide cassettes; Slide sorters
  • Microscope slides
  • Multiwell plates - Flat bottom microtiter plates
  • Petri plates or dishes - 35m petri dishes
  • pH meters
  • Photo attachments for microscopes - Microscope camera adapters; Photomicroscopes
  • Pipette bulbs - Pipette aids
  • Protective gloves - Safety gloves
  • Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges - Low speed refrigerated centrifuges
  • Scanners - Microarray scanners
  • Slide dryers - Benchtop drying chambers; Floor model drying chambers
  • Steam autoclaves or sterilizers - Bench-top autoclaves; Steam autoclaves
  • Stereo or dissecting light microscopes - Stereo microscopes
  • Sterilization cabinets - Biological safety cabinets
  • Tachometers
  • Test tube racks
  • Ultra cold or ultralow upright cabinets or freezers - Laboratory freezers
  • Ultrasonic cleaning equipment - Ultrasonic sterilization units
  • Ultrasonic disintegrators - Cell harvesters; Robotic harvesters
  • Vortex mixers
  • Water baths


  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.


  • Interest code: IRC
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 88% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 77% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 54% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections - 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 54% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Consequence of Error - 54% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Telephone - 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 46% responded “Very important results.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 42% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Contact With Others - 50% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 31% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 46% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 54% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Physical Proximity - 54% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 31% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 88% responded “40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 31% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 27% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
73%Bachelor's degree
19%Post-baccalaureate certificate
4%Master's degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $24.89 hourly, $51,770 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 171,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Faster than average (10% to 14%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 12,900

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