Program Description


Cytotechnology is a specialty within the broad field of clinical laboratory science. The cytotechnologist, working under the direction of a pathologist, examines cells under the microscope for early signs of cancer and other diseases. They are able to differentiate normal, atypical and malignant cell changes. They must be familiar with normal anatomy and histology for all body systems and the different disease processes. In recognizing microscopic abnormalities of cells and cellular patterns from various body sites, the cytotechnologist assists the pathologist in detecting cancer at its earliest and potentially most curable stage. As a result, physicians are able to diagnose and treat cancer long before discovering its existence by alternate methods. 

Cytotechnologists often assist other clinicians with specialized fine needle aspiration procedures to obtain cell samples without major surgery.  In addition, cytotechnologists may be involved with the application of companion technologies including immunocytochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization.

The Cytotechnology program begins with the post-summer quarter and is based on the completion of two years of prerequisite course work at any accredited college or university. The first year at Loma Linda University primarily emphasizes the theoretical aspects of gynecological, urinary, respiratory, and other non-gynecological cytology, with twelve weeks in clinical rotation. The remaining two quarters combines advanced classroom topics in pathology, electron microscopy, with emphasis in research and electives. The schedule is suspended for summer, Christmas, and spring vacation periods.

Upon completion of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree, the graduate is eligible to take the certification examination offered by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and become a registered cytotechnologist.

Program Website  |  Catalog

Program Length

2 years

Possible Careers

Cytotechnologists work in hospitals, clinics, and independent pathology laboratories. Cytotechnologists can advance to supervisory positions, participate in research activities, or become teachers in the field.

Application Deadlines

There are currently no published application deadlines.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission, the applicant must have the following:

  • Completed high school from an accredited institution or passed the GED and completed a minimum of 96 quarter units or 64 semester units at an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum of 2.0 GPA is required for all transfer courses. C-minus grades are not acceptable for transfer credit.
  • A 2.75 GPA in the science subjects is highly recommended.
  • Prerequisites

    • 20 quarter or 14 semester units of humanities
    • College algebra or higher level
    • Introductory chemistry with lab (complete sequence)
    • Organic Chemistry with lab (complete sequence)
    • Microbiology
    • Human anatomy and physiology with lab (complete sequence)
    • General biology with lab (complete sequence)
    • English composition (complete sequence)
    • Cultural diversity course (cultural anthropology)
    • 10 quarter or 7 semester units of social science
    • Personal health or nutrition
    • Two physical education activity classes
    • If attending a Seventh-day Adventist college, four quarter or three semester units of religion per year is required.

    Discipline Accrediting Agency

    The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33763; phone (727) 210-2350, fax (727) 210-2354 - in collaboration with the Cytotechnology Programs Review Committee(CPRC), which is sponsored by: American Society of Cytopathology (ASC); American Society for Clinical Pathologists (ASCP); American Society for Cytopathology (ASCT), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). 
    Integrating faith and health
    Loma Linda University educates and encourages a balanced life by living our values of humility, compassion, justice, integrity, excellence, freedom and self- control. You will be surrounded by faculty who are committed to healthcare innovation and research while engaging your spirituality.

    Expected Cost of Attendance

    Academic Year 2020-2021

    Year of Program: Year 1 Year 2
    Tuition $33,100 $37,072
    Fees $2,715 $3,620
    Books & Supplies $984
    Misc (e.g., Boards, Licensing exam, Uniforms)
    Total $36,799 $40,692


    Expected costs for the 2020-2021 academic year are based on full time attendance. From year to year, increases are anticipated consistent with inflation in the professional education sector.

    The cost of attendance varies from year to year.  Please contact the office of Student Finance for up-to-date costs.

    Estimated Living Expenses

    Academic Year 2020-2021, off campus, with a roommate

    Year of Program: Year 1 Year 2
    Months enrolled 9 12
    Room & Board $12,645 $16,860
    Transportation $2,880 $3,840
    Personal Expenses $2,070 $2,760


    • Amounts are what a student can apply to borrow for the number of months shown in each academic year based on living off campus with a roommate and not with a relative.
    • International students need to calculate 12 months of living expenses based on the numbers listed here.
    • In general, to qualify for financial aid a student must be enrolled at least half time taking degree requirements. Half time is 6 units in a quarter for undergraduate programs and 4 units in a quarter for graduate programs.