Cytogenetic technologists, more commonly referred to as cytotechnologists, are medical technologists who specialize in the diagnosis of cancer by looking at cell samples under a microscope. A career in cytotechnology usually requires a bachelor's degree, and pay tends to vary by location and by type of employer.
Average National Pay
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical laboratory technologists of all types earned an average salary of $58,640 per year as of 2012. In a study of medical lab salaries, the American Society for Clinical Pathology found that cytotechnologists specifically earned an average of $61,235 a year in 2010. Cytotechnologists who acted as supervisors earned more, averaging $71,261 a year.
Pay by Employer Type
As of 2012, most medical laboratory technologists worked at general hospitals. These paid medical lab technologists an average salary of $59,360 per year, more than most other types of employers. For example, freestanding medical and diagnostic labs paid an average of $58,340, colleges and universities an average of $55,770, and physicians' offices an average of $54,510. Those employed directly by the federal government earned even more than people working at general hospitals, reporting an average pay of $64,100 per year.
Pay by State
Employers in the Northeast and West paid the highest wages to medical lab technologists, on average. California paid substantially more than any other state, an average of $77,550 per year. At $67,570 per year, Massachusetts posted the second-highest average pay. Alaska ranked third, with an average medical lab technologist salary of $66,760, followed by Connecticut, where the average reported pay for this occupation was $66,740 a year. At an average of $45,140 per year, South Carolina was the lowest-paying state in the country for medical lab technologists.
Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS expects employment of medical laboratory technologists to increase at a rate of 11 percent, leading to an estimated 19,200 new positions. An increase in screening for several types of cancer, including breast and colorectal cancers, should lead to positive job prospects for individuals seeking employment in the field of cytotechnology.