Stain, mount, and study cells to detect evidence of cancer, hormonal abnormalities, and other pathological conditions following established standards and practices.
How much education and experience would I need for this career?
These jobs typically require at least a Bachelor's Degree.
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.
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Would I like this career?
If you're one of the following types of people, you would probably like this career!
- Realistic - You like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. You enjoy dealing with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You enjoy outside work. Often you tend not to like occupations that mainly involve doing paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative - You like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking more than with physical activity. You like to search for facts and figure out problems mentally rather than to persuade or lead people.
Determine Your Personality Types
The personality types described in the above section are based on the Holland RIASEC Codes. To find out what type you are, you can take this simple test, or download a more complex interest profiler from O*NET Online. Once you know your primary and secondary personality types, come on back to find the best career in health care for you!
What kinds of things would I do on a daily basis?
- Examine cell samples to detect abnormalities in the color, shape, or size of cellular components and patterns.
- Examine specimens using microscopes to evaluate specimen quality.
- Prepare and analyze samples, such as Papanicolaou (PAP) smear body fluids and fine needle aspirations (FNAs), to detect abnormal conditions.
- Provide patient clinical data or microscopic findings to assist pathologists in the preparation of pathology reports.
- Assist pathologists or other physicians to collect cell samples such as by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies.
- Examine specimens to detect abnormal hormone conditions.
- Document specimens by verifying patients' and specimens' information.
- Maintain effective laboratory operations by adhering to standards of specimen collection, preparation, or laboratory safety.
- Prepare cell samples by applying special staining techniques, such as chromosomal staining, to differentiate cells or cell components.
- Submit slides with abnormal cell structures to pathologists for further examination.
- Adjust, maintain, or repair laboratory equipment such as microscopes.
- Assign tasks or coordinate task assignments to ensure adequate performance of laboratory activities.
What skills would I need to be successful in this career?
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.