How Much Do Cytotechnologists Make?

Sometimes, detecting disease or cancer takes a trained and patient eye. Cytotechnologists are trained laboratory technicians who have the skills to examine cells and determine what, if any, abnormalities lie in the sample. This critical lab role can give patients peace of mind or answers, depending on the outcome.

To perform this job well, cytotechnologists must have excellent microscope skills, attention to detail, and outstanding lab techniques. They must be able to work collaboratively with other lab technicians and technologists as well as pathologists. One common sample cytotechnologists analyze is a pap smear where they look for cell changes from a patient’s cervix.

A career in cytotechnology can be very rewarding, both financially and professionally. The Bureau of Labor statistics considers cytotechnologists to be clinical laboratory technologists and technicians and estimates that, on average, professionals in this field earn $56,910 per year. Between 2020 and 2030 it is estimated that there will be an 11 percent increase in jobs in this field, which is higher than the national average of eight percent.

Keep reading to learn more about salary variations and what a cytotechnologist can expect to earn based on where they live, who they work for, or even how much work experience they have.

Cytotechnologists Salary Overall

Cytotechnologists’ average salary is close to par with the national average salary for all jobs, which is $58,260. The BLS (May 2021) classifies cytotechnologists as clinical laboratory technologists and technicians. The average pay for professionals in this field is $56,910 per year. Here are the percentiles for wages:

  • 10th percentile: $30,280 or $14.56 per hour
  • 25th percentile: $37,990 or $18.26 per hour
  • 50th percentile (median): $57,800 or $27.79 per hour
  • 75th percentile: $74,530 or $35.83 per hour
  • 90th percentile: $79,340 or $38.15 per hour

Since this salary figure is for all clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, it can be helpful to consult other salary data websites to get a more accurate picture of what cytotechnologists make. Payscale, a salary aggregate, estimates that cytotechnologists earn $34.70 per hour versus the BLS estimated $27.79 per hour.

According to PayScale (June 2022), the percentiles for wages for cytotechnologists are:

  • 10th percentile: $58,000 per year
  • 50th percentile (median): $74,000 per year
  • 90th percentile: $91,000 per year

The more experience a cytotechnologist has, the higher their salary. Payscale notes that early-career cytotechnologists can anticipate earning $26.05 per hour while those with more than 20 years of experience earn $36.65 on average.

Cytotechnologist Salary By Region

Many factors can influence a cytotechnologist’s salary. One of the biggest influences on salary variation is what region or state the cytotechnologists work in. Regional variations in the cost of living, current demand for employees, and the number of open jobs can all cause a salary fluctuation. Here are some examples of mean wages for cytotechnologists (clinical laboratory technologists and technicians).

  • Massachusetts: $29.32 per hour, $60,980 per year
  • Utah: $24.30 per hour, $50,540 per year
  • North Dakota: $22.20 per hour, $ 55,580 per year
  • Alabama: $22.20 per hour, $46,170 per year
  • Missouri: $24.16 per hour, $50,260 per year
  • Texas: $25.60 per hour, $53,240 per year
  • Florida: $25.14 per hour, $52,280 per year
  • New York: $34.85 per hour, $72,500 per year
  • Ohio: $27.00 per hour, $56,170 per year

Some states, however, have significantly higher earnings than others. Here are the top-paying states for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians and the mean wages, according to the BLS (May 2021):

  • New York: $ 72,500 annual average
  • Rhode Island: $ 70,580
  • Connecticut: $ 70,220
  • Oregon: $ 69,330
  • California: $ 68,450

Demand for employees can also have a significant effect on demand. Here are the states that have the most employed clinical laboratory technologists and technicians:

  • California: 25,910 employed
  • Texas: 24,300
  • Florida: 23,850
  • New York: 17,030
  • Ohio: 12,910

Within a given state, salaries can vary widely as well. The BLS also tracks and reports on wages based on the metropolitan area. Typically, cytotechnologists in urban areas earn more than those in rural areas, although that can vary from time to time. Here are the highest-paying metropolitan areas for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, along with the mean wages:

  • Redding, CA: $41.93 per hour $87,210 per year on average
  • Napa, CA: $41.47 per hour $86,260 per year on average
  • Merced, CA: $39.69 per hour $82,560 per year on average
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $37.09 per hour $77,150 per year on average
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $36.70 per hour $76,330 per year on average
  • Sacramento–Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $35.24 per hour $73,290 per year on average
  • Bend-Redmond, OR: $35.23 per hour $73,280 per year on average
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $35.06 per hour $72,930 per year on average
  • Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI: $35.04 per hour $72,870 per year on average
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: $34.74 per hour $72,270 per year on average

Cytotechnologist Salary By Type Of Office

Who a cytotechnologist works for can also have a significant effect on salary. Most cytotechnologists work in labs in hospitals, private clinics, government agencies, or universities.

However, cytotechnologists may also work on research projects which means they can be employed anywhere the research is being done. Here are the places of employment where cytotechnologists (clinical laboratory technologists and technicians) are paid the most:

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers: $48.59 per hour, $101,080 per year on average
  • Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods: $37.64 per hour, $78,290 per year on average
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services: $35.35 per hour, $73,520 per year on average
  • Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing: $34.95 per hour, $72,690 per year on average
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services : $32.90 per hour, $68,430 per year on average

When considering a new career or a job change, salary is one of the primary factors most people consider. As such, it is important to understand what average wages are for the region and place of employment and the effect that work experience, education, and certification can have on compensation.

In addition to salary, there can be several factors job hunters should consider. These can include retirement contributions, health insurance, paid time off, management, and commute length.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

With her passion for uncovering the latest innovations and trends, Kimmy Gustafson has provided valuable insights and has interviewed experts to provide readers with the latest information in the rapidly evolving field of medical technology since 2019. Kimmy has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics such as startups, nonprofits, healthcare, kiteboarding, the outdoors, and higher education. She is passionate about seeing the world and has traveled to over 27 countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. When not working she can be found outdoors, parenting, kiteboarding, or cooking.