Cytotechnologist & Certified Histological Technician License Requirements

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Definitions of Common Terms | Education Pathways | Additional Education Requirements | Examination Requirements | Limited Permits | Requirements at a Glance

General Requirements

The practice of cytotechnology and the use of the title "cytotechnologist" or "certified histological technician" require licensure, unless otherwise exempt under the law.

To be licensed as a cytotechnologist or certified histological technician in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • meet education requirements; and
  • meet examination requirements.

You must file an application for licensure and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 165 of New York's Education Law and Sections 52.39 and 52.41 and Subparts 79-14 and 79-16 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

The licensure and first registration fee for a cytotechnologist is $371.

The licensure and first registration fee for a certified histological technician is $263.

The limited permit fee for a cytotechnologist and certified histological technician is $50 (the limited permit fee is not refundable).

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    NYS Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    PO Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Clinical Laboratory Technology Unit by e-mailing opunit2@nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 260 or by faxing 518-402-2323.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure and registration fees and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Definitions of Common Terms

Accredited (or accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency) means accredited by an organization accepted by the Department as a reliable authority for the purpose of accrediting cytotechnology or certified histological technician programs on a national or regional basis, as having reasonable accreditation standards, and as an organization that applies its criteria for granting accreditation of programs in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory manner.

Blood bank means a facility for the collection, processing, storage and/or distribution of human blood, blood components or blood derivatives.

Certified histological technician means a clinical laboratory practitioner who pursuant to established and approved protocols of the Department of Health performs slide-based histological assays, tests, and procedures and any other such tests conducted by a clinical histology laboratory, including maintaining equipment and records and performing quality assurance activities relating to procedure performance on histological testing of human tissue and which requires limited exercise of independent judgment and is performed under the supervision of a laboratory supervisor designated by the director of a clinical laboratory or under the supervision of the director of the clinical laboratory.

Clinical laboratory technology means the performance of microbiological, virological, serological, chemical, immunohematological, hematological, biophysical, cytogenetical, cytological or histological procedures and examinations and any other test or procedure conducted by a laboratory as defined by title five of article five of the public health law, on material derived from the human body which provides information for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a disease or assessment of a human medical condition.

Cytotechnologist means a clinical laboratory practitioner who, pursuant to established and approved protocols of the Department of Health, performs cytological procedures and examinations and any other such tests including maintaining equipment and records and performing quality assurance activities related to examination performance, and which requires the exercise of independent judgment and responsibility, as determined by the Department.

Director of a Clinical Laboratory means a person who is responsible for administration of the technical and scientific operation of a clinical laboratory or blood bank, including supervision of procedures and reporting of findings of tests.


Education Pathways

Pathways to licensure as a cytotechnologist or certified histological technician include:

  • The standard pathway: This is the only licensure pathway available for individuals applying for licensure after September 1, 2013.
  • The special provisions (grandparenting provisions - no longer available): When the law was enacted to establish these professions, applicants who met certain special provisions, including specified experience and/or education requirements, were licensed without having to take the licensure examination(s). These special/grandparenting licensure provisions were only available until January 1, 2009.
  • The transition pathway (no longer available): This licensure pathway was available to applicants who applied for licensure during the time period when New York State higher education institutions were pursuing licensure-qualifying status for their programs from the Department. This pathway expired on September 1, 2013.

Cytotechnologist | Certified Histological Technician

Cytotechnologist

The standard pathway is the only licensure pathway available to apply for licensure as a cytotechnologist in New York State. To be licensed under the standard pathway, you must document that you meet the education requirements outlined below.

Standard Pathway Education Requirements

You must document that you have either:

  1. Received a bachelor's or higher degree in cytotechnology (or a related title) from:
    • a program registered by the Department as licensure qualifying at the time of graduation (A list of licensure-qualifying programs can be found on the Inventory of Registered Programs under "CYTOTECHNOLOGIST"); or
    • a program that is determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent of a registered program in cytotechnology that is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency or recognized by the appropriate civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the program is offered as a program that prepares individuals for professional practice as a cytotechnologist, and is designed and conducted by the degree-granting institution to prepare graduates to practice as cytotechnologists using independent judgment and responsibility.

      OR

  2. Received BOTH:
    1. a bachelor's or higher degree from a program with a major in biology, chemistry, or the physical sciences registered by the Department or determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent of such program; and
    2. an advanced certificate from a college or university credit-bearing program, as evidenced on an official transcript/marksheets, in cytotechnology registered as licensure qualifying at the time of graduation or the substantial equivalent of such program. (NOTE: Acceptable college or university programs are listed on the Inventory of Registered Programs. The Department does not accept standalone hospital-based training programs toward the standard method education requirements for licensure.)

You must submit, or have submitted on your behalf, the following items and forms to document that you meet these requirements.

  • Form 1 and $371 fee for licensure and first registration
  • Form 2 (and official transcript(s) for ALL college coursework completed if you graduated from a program that was not registered as licensure qualifying in New York State at the time of your attendance. We also require a detailed program syllabus or other supplementary documentation to determine whether your studies meet the Substantial Equivalence requirements, as outlined below.)
  • Form 3 (only if you hold, or ever held, a professional license/certificate outside of New York State)
  • Form 5 and $50 limited permit fee (if you intend to practice in New York State under the general supervision of a Clinical Laboratory Director after you meet the education requirement and before you pass the licensing examination and are licensed)
Substantial Equivalence

For a program to be determined substantially equivalent to a registered cytotechnology program, it must:

  1. be a program in cytotechnology leading to a bachelor's or higher degree or advanced certificate which contains didactic and clinical education that integrates pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical components of laboratory services, including the principles and practices of quality assurance/ quality improvement; and which is designed to prepare graduates to practice cytotechnology using independent judgment and responsibility;
  2. include coursework, which shall include a laboratory component in each area, in each of the following subject areas or their equivalent as determined by the Department:
    1. inorganic chemistry;
    2. anatomy and physiology;
    3. cell biology;
    4. cytopathology, including, but not limited to, female genital tract, respiratory tract, gastro-intestinal and genitourinary tracts, body fluids, evaluation of specimens from washes and brushes of all body sites, and evaluation of specimens from fine needle aspiration biopsies of all body sites;
    5. cytopreparatory techniques, including, but not limited to, preparation, staining and processing of body samples; and
    6. microscopic evaluation and interpretation of cytopathology of the sample types and body systems identified in paragraph (4) of this subdivision;
  3. include curricular content in each of the following subject areas or their equivalent as determined by the Department:
    1. organic chemistry;
    2. mathematics and statistics;
    3. infection control and universal precautions (standard precautions);
    4. human genetics;
    5. immunology;
    6. clinical microbiology;
    7. the maintenance of equipment and records; and
    8. ethics; and
  4. include a supervised clinical experience of at least 30 hours per week for at least 10 weeks or its equivalent as determined by the Department, in the practice of cytotechnology.

Certified Histological Technician

The standard pathway is the only licensure pathway available to apply for licensure as a certified histological technician in New York State. To be licensed under the standard pathway, you must document that you meet the education requirements outlined below.

Standard Pathway Education Requirements

You must document that you have received an associate's or higher degree for certified histological technician (or a related title) from:

  • a program registered by the Department as licensure qualifying at the time of graduation (A list of licensure-qualifying programs can be found on the Inventory of Registered Programs under "HISTOLOG TECHN"); or
  • a program that is determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent of a registered program for certified histological technician that is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency or recognized by the appropriate civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the program is offered as a program to prepare individuals for professional practice as certified histological technicians.

You must submit, or have submitted on your behalf, the following items and forms to document that you meet these requirements.

  • Form 1 and $263 fee for licensure and first registration
  • Form 2 (and official transcript(s) for ALL college coursework completed if you graduated from a program that was not registered as licensure qualifying in New York State at the time of your attendance. We also require a detailed program syllabus or other supplementary documentation to determine whether studies meet the substantial equivalence requirements, as outlined below.)
  • Form 3 (only if you hold, or ever held, a professional license/certificate outside New York State)
  • Form 5 and $50 limited permit fee (if you intend to practice in New York State under the general supervision of a Clinical Laboratory Director after you meet the education requirements and before you pass the licensing examination and are licensed)
 Substantial Equivalence

For a program to be determined substantially equivalent to a registered certified histological technician program, it must:

  1. be a histological technician program leading to an associate or higher degree which contains didactic and clinical education that integrates pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical components of laboratory services, including the principles and practices of quality assurance/ quality improvement;
  2. include curricular content in each of the following subject areas or their equivalent as determined by the Department:
    1. anatomy and physiology;
    2. inorganic chemistry;
    3. histology, to include microscopic analysis;
    4. histological techniques, to include microtome techniques, chemistry of stains, and staining techniques;
    5. quality assurance;
    6. ethics; and
    7. infection control and universal precautions; and
  3. include a supervised clinical experience of at least 30 hours per week for at least 8 weeks, or its equivalent as determined by the Department, in the practice of histological technician.

Additional Educational Requirements

For the standard pathway to licensure, in addition to meeting the specific education requirements, you must also certify that you have reviewed the rules and regulations of the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listed below, relating to practice as a cytotechnologist or certified histological technician in New York State. By signing your Application for Licensure (Form 1), you will be certifying that you are generally familiar with the specified rules and regulations and where to locate specific information you may need; you are not required to have a detailed knowledge of all the material.

Applicants should be familiar with the following general rules and regulations of any clinical laboratory, as well as rules and standards of specific relevance to areas of testing and reporting in which they are or expect to be engaged.

New York State Public Health Law and Regulations

The laws and regulations listed below can be accessed on the Web at www.wadsworth.org/regulatory/clep/laws External Link Icon

  • Article 5, Title V: Clinical Laboratory and Blood Banking Services
  • Article 31: Human Blood and Transfusion Services
  • Part 19 of Title 10 (NYCRR): Clinical Laboratory Directors
  • Part 58 of Title 10 (NYCRR): Clinical Laboratories and Blood Banks
  • Subpart 58-1 of Title 10 (NYCRR): Clinical Laboratories (See 58-1.12 and 58-1.13 for requirements related to cytopathology and cytotechnology)
  • Subpart 58-2 of Title 10 (NYCRR): Blood Banks
  • Subpart 58-8 of Title 10 (NYCRR): Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing
  • Article 27F HIV and AIDS Related Information
  • Subpart 63 of 10 (NYCRR): AIDS/HIV Testing, Reporting and Confidentiality
  • Article 5, Title VI Laboratory Business Practices
  • Article 43-B, Organ, Tissue, and Body Parts
  • Section 79.1 of the New York State Civil Rights Law, Confidentiality of Genetic Testing
  • Subpart 34-2 of 10 (NYCRR) Laboratory Business Practices

Federal Laws and Regulations

CLIA Regulations and Federal Register Documents can be accessed on the Web at www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/CLIA/CLIA_Regulations_and_Federal_Register_Documents.html

Examination Requirements

You must pass The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification's examination for Cytotechnologist (CT) for licensure as a cytotechnologist or Histotechnician (HT) for licensure as a certified histological technician with a converted score of at least 75 as determined by the State Board for Clinical Laboratory Technology. New York State does not accept any of ASCP's international or specialty examinations. The Histotechnologist (HTL) examination in not accepted for licensure as a certified histological technician.

Please note that we cannot consider an applicant meeting a professional membership organization's requirements (i.e. ASCP), which often allow for other types of training and experience, as the sole basis of licensure. We contract with ASCP solely for their examination, so if an applicant has taken the appropriate ASCP exam after September 1, 2001, we can consider that exam, but the applicant must still meet all other New York State licensure requirements, including education.

Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the examination you must:

  • Apply for licensure, pay the fee for licensure and first registration, and submit all supporting documentation; and
  • meet the education requirements as stated in statute.

When the Department has determined your eligibility, we will send you a letter informing you of your eligibility. Your next step is to complete the ASCP State Licensure Application found online at www.ascp.org/content/board-of-certification/get-credentialed/#state-licensure External Link Icon. You will receive an admission letter with a phone number from the ASCP Board of Certification for scheduling your appointment to take the examination. You should schedule an appointment to take the examination within the assigned three-month examination period.

The examination is administered by:

ASCP Board of Certification
33 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-541-4999 or 800-267-2727
Fax: 312-541-4845

Reasonable Testing Accommodations

If you have a disability and may require reasonable testing accommodations for the examinations, please contact the ASCP Board of Certification for information.


Limited Permits

A limited permit authorizes an individual who has met all requirements for licensure as a cytotechnologist or certified histological technician, except the licensing examination, to practice as a cytotechnologist or certified histological technician under the general supervision of the director of a clinical laboratory.

The limited permit is valid for one year. The permit may be extended for one additional year if the applicant can document good cause, such as, a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional or other good cause which, in the judgment of the Department, made it impossible for the applicant to complete the examination required for licensure.

You may apply for a limited permit by submitting the Application for Limited Permit (Form 5) and limited permit fee of $50 at the same time or any time after you submit your Application for Licensure (Form 1), licensure and first registration fee ($371 for cytotechnologists, $263 for certified histological technicians), and evidence of satisfactory education.

NOTE: Under the general supervision of the director of a clinical laboratory means that the permit holder must be supervised by a director of a clinical laboratory who serves the laboratory full-time or on a regular part-time basis; ensures the supervision of the technical performance of the permit holder, and is readily available for consultation with the permit holder, as needed; and is responsible for the performance and findings of all tests carried out by the permit holder, either by directly overseeing the testing, or by delegating the responsibility to authorized qualified supervisors who are on site in the laboratory.


Requirements at a Glance

You may print and keep this cytotechnologist checklist or this certified histological technician checklist as a reminder of what forms you need to file. This is for your reference and should not be submitted with your application forms. You should also keep a copy of all application forms submitted.

Last Updated: August 1, 2019