Cytogenetic Technologists

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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.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
  • A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
  • Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Bachelor's Degree

Related Work Experience: N.A.

On-Site or In-Plant Training: Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years

On-the-Job Training: Over 6 months, up to and including 1 year

Detailed Work Activities

  • Prepare healthcare training materials.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Prepare biological specimens for laboratory analysis.
  • Prepare official health documents or records.
  • Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
  • Determine protocols for medical procedures.
  • Collect biological specimens from patients.
  • Create advanced digital images of patients using computer imaging systems.
  • Analyze laboratory specimens to detect abnormalities or other problems.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Communicate test or assessment results to medical professionals.
  • Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
  • Maintain medical laboratory equipment.
  • Supervise technical medical personnel.
  • Operate laboratory equipment to analyze medical samples.
  • Monitor medical facility activities to ensure adherence to standards or regulations.
  • Develop healthcare quality and safety procedures.
  • Test biological specimens to gather information about patient conditions.
  • Maintain medical facility records.

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.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
  • Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
  • Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
  • Apply prepared specimen and control to appropriate grid, run instrumentation, and produce analyzable results.
  • Select appropriate culturing system or procedure based on specimen type and reason for referral.
  • Analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens to aid diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases such as congenital birth defects, fertility problems, and hematological disorders.
  • Harvest cell cultures using substances such as mitotic arrestants, cell releasing agents, and cell fixatives.
  • Summarize test results and report to appropriate authorities.
  • Prepare biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, tumors, chorionic villi, and blood, for chromosome examinations.
  • 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).
  • Prepare slides of cell cultures following standard procedures.
  • Input details of specimens into logs or computer systems.
  • 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.
  • Stain slides to make chromosomes visible for microscopy.
  • Describe chromosome, FISH and aCGH analysis results in International System of Cytogenetic Nomenclature (ISCN) language.
  • Evaluate appropriateness of received specimens for requested tests.
  • Create chromosome images using computer imaging systems.
  • Recognize and report abnormalities in the color, size, shape, composition, or pattern of cells.
  • Determine optimal time sequences and methods for manual or robotic cell harvests.
  • Communicate to responsible parties unacceptable specimens and suggest remediation for future submissions.
  • Select banding methods to permit identification of chromosome pairs.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment such as photomicroscopes, inverted microscopes, and standard darkroom equipment.
  • 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.
  • Develop and implement training programs for trainees, medical students, resident physicians or post-doctoral fellows.
  • 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.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

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.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.