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School of Cytotechnology

We appreciate your interest in Cleveland Clinic's School of Cytotechnology.

Cytotechnology is a health science profession that specializes in the microscopic evaluation of cellular samples for the detection and diagnosis of human disease.  Cytotechnologists are cytotechnology specialists who have above average visual acuity, are good problem solvers; they are accurate, reliable and work well under pressure.  If you possess these characteristics and have an interest in biology, a career as a Cytotechnologist may be the right field for you.  The twelve-month training program at Cleveland Clinic will require dedication and hard work, but will bring the successful graduate the skills and knowledge needed to enter into a workforce that offers the opportunity to serve patients and the medical community. 

Cleveland Clinic Mission:

To provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems and further education of those who serve.

Cleveland Clinic Vision:

To provide Best in Class patient experiences, superior clinical outcomes and excellence in research and education.

In this spirit, Cleveland Clinic's School of Cytotechnology will provide students the opportunity to learn in a dynamic laboratory environment with a wide variety of cases and a large teaching slide library.  The faculty has extensive experience in Cytopathology and many are recognized nationally and internationally as experts and educators in the field.

We hope you will consider our program and look forward to working with you.


Sandra Dolar, SCT (ASCP)CM
Program Director


Cytotechnology is an allied health laboratory specialty designed to aid in the diagnosis of cancer and its precursors using individual cell morphology.

A cytotechnologist (CT) is a laboratory specialist who is responsible for preparing and examining human cell samples under the microscope for early signs of cancer and other diseases. The cytotechnologist meticulously reviews and analyzes subtle cell changes, both nuclear and cytoplasmic, and compares these changes to known normal cell findings from given body sites. By adding these microscopic observations to the clinical history provided, the cytotechnologist can judge the significance of the cell changes. Cytotechnologists, working with cytopathologists, aid clinicians in determining a patient’s diagnosis. Many times a cytology sample may help facilitate early detection of cancer or assess the extent of spread of a known malignancy.

The cytotechnologist must be familiar with normal anatomy and histology for all the body systems that may be the sources of cytologic material and must learn the appearance of certain disease processes that affect these body sites. The cell changes that indicate these processes must be studied and the cells recognized in a background of normal material.

Cytotechnologists aid in the management of patients with known malignancies by assisting with fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies, minimally invasive procedures that can, in addition to initial diagnosis, help track the spread of disease. When used in conjunction with radiologic and ultrasound techniques, FNA can target small, difficult to reach areas of the body.

As healthcare professionals, cytotechnologists are responsible for providing accurate, timely, and secure diagnoses for each patient. Through certification, and with continuing education, the competent cytotechnologist is a well-respected and vital member of the pathology laboratory.

Many types of laboratories employ cytotechnologists including community and military hospitals, large teaching institutions and laboratories in the private sector. Upward mobility to supervisory and administrative levels is possible with years of service and additional education or certification. Academic institutions and universities also employ cytotechnologists with the right credentials to teach Cytotechnology. Additional opportunities for cytotechnologists are available in the area of molecular diagnostics, where the need for trained morphologists blends well with the skills learned in cytology.

Additional information about cytotechnology can be found at the following sites:

Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 upon a mission of patient care, research, and education. From the patient’s bedside to the medical laboratory, Cleveland Clinic practitioners constantly strive to improve care, seek better ways to diagnose and treat disease, and share knowledge and best practices with upcoming generations of medical personnel. Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology is welcoming students who embrace these ideals to engage in our one-year, hands-on education program.

General Information

The Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology is located at the Main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.  It is adjacent to public transportation to the downtown area as well as to both the east and west slides of the city.  Cleveland has a rich cultural heritage and affords the interested student opportunities to visit museums and attend theater productions and concerts in area.  The Cleveland Clinic also hosts many medical, community and cultural events at the various Cleveland Clinic hospitals throughout the greater Cleveland area.

The Cleveland Clinic is accredited by The Joint Commission (, One Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 (630-792-5000), and has an established reputation as a premier facility in the care of patients and the training of health professionals.

The Cleveland Clinic enjoys a strong reputation for outstanding quality care.  U.S. News & World Report ranks Cleveland Clinic as one of America one of America's top hospitals. The Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute heart program has been ranked number one in the United States for 19 years in a row.  Cleveland Clinic’s programs in  urology, rheumatology, and gastrointestinal disorders all rank among America’s top two.

The Clinic ranks among the nation's top ten in gynecology, orthopedics, head and neck, nephrology (kidney disease), neurology and neurological surgery, pulmonary (respiratory disorders), geriatrics, and endocrinology. Other Cleveland Clinic specialties noted for national excellence include ophthalmology, cancer, pediatrics, and rehabilitation.

The Education Institute of the Cleveland Clinic has been an important organizational component since the beginning of the Cleveland Clinic in 1921.  With responsibility to serve all the many educational audiences of the Cleveland Clinic, the Education Institute is comprised of many departments including the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Graduate Medical Education, Continuing Medical Education, Health Science (Allied Health) Education, and Consumer/Patient Health Information. The Education Institute also houses Library Services, Scientific Publications (e.g., the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine), the Center for Medical Art and Photography, the Cleveland Clinic Academy (which offers leadership development training to the faculty, nurses, and administrators of the Clinic), the Center for International Medical Education, the Center for Advanced Skills Training, and our Center for Online Medical Education and Training (COMET).

Also within the Education Institute is the Department of Medicine, with its responsibility to coordinate and assure optimal training for all our subspecialty fellowships in Medicine and in the Internal Medicine residency, and the Department of Academic Surgery, which similarly serves the surgical training programs. Comprised of ~200 individuals, the Education Institute is a dedicated team of colleagues which collectively supports the fabulous and prestigious training that this world-class academic medical center offers to its many trainees – medical students, house staff, fellows, and allied health professionals.

Program Description

Cleveland Clinic's School of Cytotechnology is a 1 year post baccalaureate certificate training program consisting of didactic and practical instruction in the basics of cytologic diagnosis.  Preparation of cytologic slides and the microscopic detection and diagnosis of the cells seen are only a portion of the responsibility of the cytotechnologist.  The didactic instruction will include anatomy, histology, correlation of cellular findings to other clinical information, adjunct testing and laboratory management as they relate to cytology.  Classes will begin early in July and end the last week of June the following year.  Students must successfully complete the entire course of study in order to obtain a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Board of Certification Cytotechnology examination.

The early weeks of the course are devoted to the study of the Pap Test.  This test was developed by Dr. George Papanicolaou to aid in the detection of cancer of the uterine cervix and its precursors.  During this time, students will learn the appearance of normal and abnormal cells, changes associated with inflammation and injury of tissue, and the basic cytologic criteria of malignancy.  They will gain valuable experience in the microscopic screening of cytologic preparations, a skill necessary to be successful technologists.  They will also learn the basics of slide handling and staining using both manual and automated methods.  The Cleveland Clinic uses state-of-the-art equipment for preparation, staining and reviewing cytologic samples.

Throughout the remainder of the program, students will study each body system; the source of cytologic material.  These include, but are not limited to, the respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems.  In addition, students will learn the anatomical locations used for fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, as well as the diagnostic criteria for each of these locations.

Aspects of laboratory operations and management are included in the curriculum to help students understand the role of the cytology department in context with other diagnostic areas of the hospital laboratory.  Maintaining patient confidentiality, professionalism and teamwork are essential characteristics of cytotechnologists.

All Cytotechnology programs are expected to “prepare competent entry-level cytotechnologists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behaviors) learning domains” (American Society for Cytopathology, Programs Review Committee).  The Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology with its state of the art laboratory facilities and dedicated, experienced faculty is prepared to not only meet this goal, but to bring to the cytology community new technologists who are equipped to meet the changing nature of the cytotechnology healthcare profession.


Accreditation of the School of Cytotechnology is obtained through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 U.S.Highway 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33763 (phone 727.210.2350).


Program Goals

The primary goal of the Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology is to provide the students the skills and knowledge necessary succeed as cytotechnologists.  The training is designed to provide students with entry level skills to effectively function as a cytotechnologist in performing gynecologic, non-gynecologic and fine needle aspiration cytopathology.  It is the responsibility of the faculty to assist students in the acquisition of basic screening and detection skills and to guide them through a curriculum that will give them the scientific knowledge necessary to perform with integrity and accuracy.  The curriculum contains elements that address all aspects of the profession including ethics, professionalism, decision making, team work, and management in addition to the cytologic skills necessary to make accurate diagnoses from a wide variety of specimens.  To this end it is also a goal of this program to prepare students to pass the national American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification Cytotechnology examination. 

The Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 1361 Park St., Clearwater, FL 33756, phone 727-210-2350 (  This accreditation assures that students will be eligible to sit for the national registry examination upon successful completion of the program.

The students will also complete training and be certified to screen not only conventional pap tests but ThinPrepTM and SurePathTM pap tests.  They will also be certified to operate the equipment supporting these two methods of slide preparation.  Experience with state-of-the-art technologies will make Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology graduates marketable locally and nationally.

An additional goal of the program is to introduce students to various adjunct technologies, such as flow cytometry and molecular diagnostics.  As morphologists, cytotechnologists with a background in molecular diagnostics will have enhanced skills that will provide them with more opportunities within a competitive job market. 

Note:   The Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology has been approved by the Clinic’s Center for Health Sciences Education and their Health Professions Education Council.  Their mission is to ensure all Cleveland Clinic Health Science programs educate students to excel in academic achievement and become providers of the best care to patients.

Outcomes Measures
Year Graduation Rate Job Placement Board of Certification
First-Time Pass Rate
2014 100% 100% 100%
2015 100% 100% 100%
2016 100% 100% 100%

The Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology does not:

  • Accept transfer credits from other cytotechnology programs
  • Allow completion of requirements through experiential learning
  • Offer advanced placement courses for students prior to receipt of a baccalaureate degree
Academic Requirements

Applicants should demonstrate a capacity for academic achievement:

  • A minimum of a baccalaureate level degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 (4.0 = A) and a 3.0 minimum GPA in all science and mathematics courses
  • Completed 20 semester hours or 30 quarter hours of biology
    • Courses include but are not limited to:
    • General Biology
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Cell Biology
    • Histology
    • Immunology
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular Biology
  • 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of Chemistry
  • 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of Mathematics
  • Foreign applicants must have permanent resident status


Admissions Procedure
  • Each applicant must submit the following information/materials as instructed before any consideration of the application will be given:
    • Completed application form (Deadline: March 15)
    • Three completed reference forms (two must be from academic sources)
    • Letters of reference
    • Official transcript (and transcript evaluation when required) from each college attended
  • Incomplete applications cannot be considered and applicants will be notified in writing of their ineligibility.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant and not this program to monitor the application process.
  • Ineligible applicants may have their applications considered for the following year by informing this program of their intent in writing by June 30 and completing an application by the following year's deadline.
  • Prospective students with complete applications who meet the academic eligibility requirements of this program will be contacted by mail to schedule a personal interview at the Cleveland Clinic. Travel arrangements and all travel expenses are the responsibility of the student.
  • All interviews are scheduled and completed by April 30.
  • Once all interviews are complete, students accepted into the program will be notified in writing by May 15.
  • Prospective students who are not selected will be notified in writing by May 15.
    • Applicants who elect to remain in the applicant pool for one additional year must notify the program director in writing by June 30 and may waive a second personal interview if they so desire.

Desirable Applicant Attributes

Desirable Attributes of Applicants:

  • Visual acuity and perception with respect to depth and color
  • Ability to use microscopes to distinguish the characteristics of cells in health and disease as well as other microscopic entities related to cytologic diagnosis
  • Logical thought processes facilitating problem solving
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Transfer of knowledge and laboratory skills to problems other than those set in the course of instruction, but that lend themselves to similar types of solutions
  • Dependability and a sense of responsibility
  • Courtesy and consideration in personal relationships
  • Motivation that is more internally than externally stimulated
  • Integrity
  • Maturity
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instruction
  • Ability to react appropriately and to maintain poise and control under stressful conditions
  • Manual dexterity

Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of the Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology to provide equal opportunity to all applicants for admission into the program.  Decisions concerning selection are made on the basis of the best qualified candidates without regard to age, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, ethnicity, ancestry, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

  • There are no current application fees
  • A $5000 tuition fee, effective for the 2015-2016 program year
    • Half of this fee is payable prior to the start of the program with the remainder due at the end of the first quarter of the school year (September 30)
  • Approximately $400 for text books
  • Supplies such as notebooks, shoes, etc.
  • Medical insurance (if needed)
  • Medical Liability insurance

Health and Professional Liability Insurance

Health care and hospitalization insurance and professional liability insurance are the responsibility of the student.

Living Expenses

Cleveland Clinic has no student housing facilities. The cost of room, board, and transportation are the responsibility of the student.

Job opportunities may be available for students enrolled in this program to help offset these expenses as long as they maintain the academic standards set by the School. If a student withdraws or is dismissed from the program, the School of Cytotechnology, the Robert J Tomsich Pathology and Laboratory Institute, or the Cleveland Clinic are not responsible for any student expenses incurred.

Program Operational Requirements
  • Students accepted into the program are required to complete the following prior to beginning the program:
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Present evidence of:
      • immunity to Rubella, Rubeola, Mumps (MMR), and Varicella
      • Negative TB test within the last 6 months
      • Tdap booster within the last 10 years
      • Hepatitis B immunity, vaccine or waiver assuming risk of infection
      • Results of a current health screening
    • Obtain a Cleveland Clinic Temporary ID Badge (must be returned at the conclusion of the program)


  • The Cleveland Clinic buildings and properties are designated non-smoking areas.
  • This is a relatively high-pressure program with many deadlines and a busy work environment. Students will be expected to learn from required readings and assigned tasks such as microscopic review of study cases and unknown slides.
  • Students will be expected to learn from and interact with a diverse population.
  • As full-time students, each will be expected to be engaged in learning activities, including homework assignments, at the Cleveland Clinic for a minimum of 8 hours per day (5 days per week).
  • Students must complete all assignments and maintain at least a C average on written and practical examinations. In addition, students must complete, in a satisfactory manner, the review of unknown slides throughout the program reaching a 99% accuracy rate on gyn screening by the end of the school year. Students will be formally evaluated on a quarterly basis and may be subject to dismissal in the event of failing to meet performance standards.
  • Students may withdraw from the program by submitting a letter of request to the program director.  Students in good standing who wish to return to the program will need to reapply.  Readmission will depend on available space and resources.

All application material, correspondence or inquiries concerning applications should be directed to the Program Director at 216.445.8524 or at the following address:

Sandra Dolar, BA, SCT(ASCP)CM
School of Cytotechnology
Cleveland Clinic
9500 Euclid Avenue; L13
Cleveland, OH 44195

The evaluation of applicants begins after all application materials have been received. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the application process. Incomplete applications will not be considered and applicants will be notified in writing of their ineligibility.

Important Dates

  • March 15: All completed applications including the reference letters, transcripts, and transcript evaluations when required, must be postmarked by this date.
  • April 30: All interviews for eligible candidates will be complete by this date. (In person interviews are required of all applicants at their own expense.)
  • May 15: All applicants will be notified in writing of their acceptance status by this date.
  • June 30: Ineligible applicants may have their applications considered for the following year by informing this program of their intent in writing by this date.
  • First Monday in July: Classes begin, unless July 4 falls on a Monday, in which case classes will begin on Tuesday.

Cleveland Clinic does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs or activities, on the basis of age, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, ethnicity, ancestry, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.  In addition, Cleveland Clinic administers all programs and services without regard to disability, and provides reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled individuals.

Download the application.