The Cytotechnologist program is a Bachelors of Science degree granting program that provides education and training in the art and science of cytopathology. This program will prepare graduates to function as cytotechnologists.
Graduates will demonstrate the technical skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate a variety of cellular elements and make final diagnosis on negative GYN specimens and initial diagnoses on all other specimens. The instructional design of this program’s courses is group-lock step.
The Cytotechnologist program has a two phase, field of study schedule. Resident training is first conducted at the METC and then the student transitions to clinical training that is conducted at military and/or civilian medical treatment facilities (MTF).
Upon initial entry to METC, students are provided formal education and training that develops them into entry-level cytotechnologists within MTFs.
Training involves ongoing opportunities for the evaluation of cellular elements derived from a variety of sources to include: cervicovaginal, respiratory, oral and gastrointestinal tract, breast, urogenital tract, body cavities, cerebrospinal fluid, soft tissue and bone, as well as fine needle aspiration of the lymph nodes, thyroid gland and salivary gland.
Students will learn to recognize normal, inflammatory, benign, and malignant conditions by analyzing cellular changes and to make initial judgments regarding etiology and severity of change. In addition, students learn entry level histologic skills on how to gross, fix, process, embed, cut, and stain tissue, as well as special stains, immunohistochemistry, and molecular pathology. Progress through the program is dependent upon the understanding of concepts developed through the use of lectures, visual images, microscopic slides, and human and animal tissue samples.
Methods of instruction include, but are not limited to: lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, laboratory practice, and practical exercises. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program.
Clinical training provides students with clinical knowledge and hands-on experiential training which consists of clinical practicum in a MTF.
The program prepares the student to exercise judgment and accept responsibility in performing cytotechnology procedures. Students will be provided patient microscopic slides for screening and specimens for cytoprocessing. They will learn to screen and diagnose GYN, NON GYN and Fine Needle Aspirations (FNA) case slides regularly in order to develop competency in their diagnostic and locator skills. Additionally, students will rotate through the histology section for training in specimen accessioning, specimen processing, embedding, general microtomy, and histopathology training, utilizing the Department of Anatomic Pathology, and all areas of practice of the Department of Anatomic Pathology.
Proficiency advancement in clinical applications is determined by the program director and clinical advisor/coordinator on a case-by-case basis.