Cytogenetic Technologist

Develop genetic tests to help better understand diseases.

What does a Cytogenetic Technologist do?

The job of a Cytogenetic Technologist is a lot like that of a Genetic Technologist. Both fields study a person’s chromosomes to determine mutations that can cause diseases and abnormal development. In fact, the responsibilities of these jobs are so similar that their titles are often used interchangeably. This means as a Cytogenetic Technologist, you can do a lot of the same things a Genetic Technologist does, and vice versa.

Cytology is the study of cells, and genetics is the study of heredity and variation. Combine the two and you get a Cytogenetic Technologist, a job that has you studying a person’s medical past and future through their DNA and RNA. You use specimens to test for things like birth defects, blood diseases, and other major illnesses.

During a pregnancy or directly after birth, you test for possible birth defects and genetic disorders. You create reports on your findings, and then pass them on to the Doctor and the soon-to-be parents. This gives them time to form a plan to handle things like a life-threatening illness or a mental disorder like Down’s syndrome.

Most of your time is spent hunched over a microscope in a lab. So if you don’t mind sitting still and concentrating for hours, this might be the right job for you. The research you do is for the purpose of answering some of medicine’s big questions. You might look at the factors that lead to certain diseases, or figure out how to undo a chromosome mutation and therefore prevent a disease.