How to Become a Cytotechnologist in UK

working in lab with microscope istock

Cytotechnologists study and analyze cells to help identify cancerous growths or other cell abnormalities that affect the normal functioning of the body. They work with physicians to help in the diagnosis process often under supervision from a pathologist. In your career as a cytotechnologist, you will work in a medical laboratory or a children’s facility.


What Does a Cytotechnologist in UK Do?

A typical job description for a cytotechnologist will have the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Study and analysis of cell samples presented to you to identify any irregularities or abnormalities
  • Keeping abreast with developing literature and findings in cytotechnology
  • Updating relevant staff on your findings
  • Assisting physicians get a proper diagnosis within the shortest time possible
  • Assisting in laboratory maintenance and housekeeping duties
  • Training student attached to your laboratory



You should ensure you have the following qualifications to pursue a successful career as a cytotechnologist:

  • A bachelor’s degree in medical or laboratory technology or biomedical science
  • A master’s degree in cytology, cell biology, molecular biology or biochemistry
  • Up to 640 hours of in house training in cytology at a lab or research facility
  • Accreditation by the British Association for Cytopathology comes as an added advantage



The following skills will assist you excel in your career path:

  • Good eyesight
  • Keen interest in science and study of microscopic specimen
  • Ability to concentrate for extended time periods
  • Knowledge on medical ethics
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • High level of responsibility
  • A respect for professional ethics and codes of conduct
  • Knowledge on latest diagnostic equipment
  • Ability to follow and give instructions


Work Environment

A career as a cytotechnologist will have you working long hours in the lab under the supervision of pathologists and senior lab technicians. You will also work with a wide range of scientific equipment to assist you accurately study and analyze your specimen.

Working with specimen requires that you always pay attention to avoid contaminating it or exposing yourself to the specimen. You must also uphold cleanliness in your working area, label all specimens appropriately and avoid mixing up research findings.

You play an integral role in the timely diagnosis and treatment of patients, thus you cannot afford to make careless mistakes.



Entry Level



Intermediate Level



Senior Level



Source: Health Care salaries: Cytotechnologist Salary


Career Prospects

Cytotechnology is a branch of science with diverse career advancement options. Depending on your interests, you can advance to become an academic researcher in cellular abnormalities or try to find different treatment options for existing abnormalities.

Alternatively, you can advance your education and become a senior cytotechnologist or pathologist depending on the graduate program you choose. Other job options include lab manager, chemist or biology technologist. You can also pursue a graduate program in a different field of science and pursue a different career line altogether.

If you have a keen interest in science and find cells intriguing, you should consider a career as a cytotechnologist.