Student in a lab

As a cytotechnologist, you’ll use high-tech methodology to study cells within the human body.

You will prepare slides of body cells and microscopically examine them to detect changes caused by different disease processes, such as cancer. Spending a good deal of time in the laboratory with their microscopes, cytotechnologists generally work alone or in small groups.

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus
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As a cytotechnologist, you will prep and stain cells from a wide range of specimen types. You will utilize microscopy to examine and help diagnose cancer cells or other cellular anomalies, providing preliminary interpretation for pathologists and ordering physicians.  

Cytotechnologists can work in a variety of settings such as hospital, research or industry laboratories.

Student looking through a microscope
  • Cytotechnology is a rewarding career that uses your knowledge and skills to help patients.
  • You will have excellent job opportunities nationally.
  • You will work regular work hours, usually 9-5 (flexible options may be available in some settings.)
  • With as little as three years of experience as a cytotechnologist, you may have opportunities for advancement, including supervisory positions.

Medical tests are critical to the accurate detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and so are the scientists who analyze and interpret those tests in the lab. If you enjoy science and its practical application, particularly in health care or related research, a degree in biomedical sciences could be for you.

With the BS Biomedical Sciences degree, you can be part of a wide variety of continually changing, dynamic professions, all with good long-term career prospects.

Employment Outlook


According to 2019 ASCP Wage Survey, cytotechnologists have an average salary of approximately $74,000.

Successful Alumni

The School of Biomedical Sciences & Health Care Administration has many successful alumni. These alumni have taken their degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

Related Programs

Entry into the Cytotechnology Professional program is competitive and dependent upon:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 90 semester hours of coursework, including all required courses and UWM General Education Requirements (GER).
  2. An overall minimum UWM grade point average (GPA) of 2.5.
  3. A minimum GPA of 2.5 in the specified science courses:
    • Chemistry: 102, 104, 221, 341, 342, 501
    • Biological Sciences: 202, 203, 325, 383
    • Biomedical Sciences: 301-305, 427, 428
  4. A minimum grade of ‘C’ in all junior-level science courses.

PLEASE NOTE: The program will attempt to place all students who meet the above criteria, but cannot guarantee that every student will be placed in a clinical rotation. The number of students placed in clinical rotations depends on the number of clinical positions available. Students with the highest science GPA will be given first priority. You will be contacted regarding your eligibility for clinical placement prior to the start of the spring semester of your junior year.

In the event that more clinical positions are available than students requesting placement, a student with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.5 may be conditionally accepted for a clinical rotation. Each student will be reviewed on an individual basis and must have approval from the Department of Biomedical Sciences faculty and the clinical education coordinator(s).

To remain eligible to continue in the professional training, you must earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in all senior-level courses. You must be prepared for full-time study (40 hours per week) that could also require additional study time at night and on weekends.

Application Process

Clinical Affiliations

You will apply for professional clinical training through the UW-Madison/State Lab of Hygiene Cytotechnology Program.

Interviews with Clinical Education Coordinators

The Cytotechnology Program Officials will review the application materials and schedule an interview in February or March.

Clinical Placements

Upon completion of the interviews, the Cytotechnology program officials will send out acceptance or rejection letters on April 1. You will have one week to respond to the acceptance letter and confirm your interest in a clinical placement.

Background Check, Drug Screen & Health Status Assessment

Important Information

  • You need to meet with your advisor to review transcripts and complete a degree audit to make sure that your academic records are in order.
  • A background check and a physical examination are required of all students prior to starting the professional clinical training. Health Status Assessment Forms (PDF) should be submitted to:

    Department of Biomedical Sciences Program Office
    College of Health Sciences
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Enderis Hall, Room 411
    Milwaukee, WI 53201
  • The clinical affiliate sites require that all students have health insurance while in the clinical rotation.
  • Limited employment during the summer semester is recommended.
  • Rotation schedules, vacations and other time off are matters that are decided individually by each clinical site. The UWM academic calendar does not apply.
  • Students will enroll as a special student undergraduate under the Continuing Studies Department at UW-Madison.

*You must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.500 in these required science courses.

**Strongly recommended but not required for graduation.

General Education Requirements (GERs)

Learn more about UWM’s General Education Requirements

Social Science
Select course from the approved GER Social Science list
Cultural Diversity
Select course from approved GER list;
Can be combined with Arts/Humanities
Select course from the approved GER Arts list
Select course from the approved GER Humanities list
Total Credits:

Freshman Year

Fall Semester

BIO SCI 202: Anatomy & Physiology I*4
BMS 101: Intro to Clinical Lab Science**2
BMS 205: Intro to Diagnostic Medicine**3
CHEM 102: General Chemistry*5
GER Elective – Arts3
Total Credits:17

Spring Semester

BIO SCI 203: Anatomy & Physiology II*4
CHEM 104: General Chemistry & Qualitative Analysis*5
GER Elective – Social Science3
GER Elective – Humanities3
Total Credits

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester

BIO SCI 150: Foundations of Biological Science I*4
BMS 301 & 302 & 303: Human Pathophysiology*3
CHEM 341: Organic Chemistry Lecture*3
CHEM 342: Organic Chemistry Lab*2
GER Elective – Humanities3
Total Credits:15

Spring Semester

BIO SCI 325: Genetics*4
BMS 304 & 305: Human Pathophysiology*2
HS 224: Computational Tools for Healthcare Professionals3
KIN 270: Statistics in Health Sciences (QLB)3
GER Elective – Social Science & Cultural Diversity3
Total Credits:15

Junior Year

Fall Semester

BIO SCI 383: General Microbiology*4
BMS 427: Clinical Immunology*3
BMS 428: Clinical Immunology Lab*1
CHEM 501: Biochemistry*3
HCA 249: Writing for Professional Development in Health Administration (OWCB)3
Total Credits:14

Spring Semester

BMS 420: Introduction to Hematology3
BMS 421: Introduction to Hematology Lab1
BMS 431: Clinical Chemistry3
BMS 432: Clinical Chemistry Lab1
BMS 534: Medical Microbiology3
BMS 535: Medical Microbiology Lab2
BMS 560: Molecular & Genetic Diagnostics2
BMS 561: Molecular Diagnostics Lab1
Total Credits:16

Senior Year

Summer – Professional Training

BMS 521: Applied Clinical Hematology2
BMS 522: Hemostasis1
BMS 536: Applied Clinical Microbiology2
BMS 537: Medical Parasitolgy & Mycology2
BMS 541: Urinalysis1
BMS 542: Applied Clinical Chemistry2
Total Credits:10

Fall Semester – Professional Training

BMS 501: Introduction to Cytotechnology1
BMS 575: Cytology of Fem Gen Lecture4
BMS 576: Cytology of Fem Gen Lab4
BMS 577: Cytology of Respiratory Tract3
Total Credits:12

Spring Semester – Professional Training

BMS 578: Cytology of the GI & GU Tracts2
BMS 579: Cytology of Effusion & CNS3
BMS 580: Aspiration Cytology4
BMS 581: Special Procedures in Cytology1
BMS 582: Cytology of the Breast1
BMS 586: Cytology Lab Operations & QC1
Total Credits:12


BMS 583: Cytology Preparation Techniques1
BMS 587: Research Methods in Cytology1
BMS 588: Diagonostic Microscopy in Cytology5
Total Credits:7

To schedule an advising appointment, call 414-229-2758 or visit Northwest Quadrant Building B, Room 6425.

You can also see the name of your advisor and contact them directly by accessing your student center in PAWS.

When should I meet with my advisor?

You are encouraged to meet with your advisor at least once per semester to ensure timely progress to graduation.

  • Enrolling for spring semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in October or November.
  • Enrolling for fall semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in March or April.

You are also welcome to schedule an appointment with your advisor at any time to discuss academic challenges, career opportunities or any other questions.

How can my advisor help me?

The College of Health Sciences boasts professional academic advisors who understand the challenges of balancing academics, work, family and the social aspects of college life. Advisors partner with you to:

  • Explore your academic and career interests
  • Plan the sequence of your courses
  • Prepare for course enrollment
  • Access tutoring and other academic support
  • Identify opportunities for campus involvement
  • Connect you to campus resources
  • Plan for graduation
Portrait of Shahla Anders
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Portrait of Brad De Pons
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Laboratory Programs Clinical Education Coordinator, Biomedical Sciences
Portrait of Fang Yao Stephen Hou
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Zachary Lunak Portrait
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Laboratory Programs Director, Biomedical Sciences
Portrait of Dean Nardelli
  • Associate Professor, Chair, Biomedical Sciences Department, (Biomedical Sciences and Diagnostic Medical Imaging Programs)
Portrait of Susan Stalewski
  • Clinical Professor, Director of Academic Initiatives and Planning, Biomedical Sciences, Office of the Dean