Welcome to the State of California 

Information about the Cytotechnologist License 

Thank you for your interest in the California Cytotechnologist license.
LFS requires applicants to submit documentation of academic coursework and clinical training or work experience to qualify for licensure. 
Work experience in California as an unlicensed laboratory staff person will not be accepted as qualification toward any clinical laboratory license.  

Please note that biotech/pharmaceutical, forensic, academic, veterinary, research, and student laboratory experience cannot count as work experience or training for any clinical license.

Scope of practice

  • This license permits you to perform examination on cytology specimens.

Academic requirements

  • Bachelor's degree (baccalaureate) with specific course requirements:
    • 20 semester or equivalent quarter units of biological science
    • 8 semester or equivalent quarter units of chemistry
    • 3 semester or equivalent quarter units of mathematics
Non-US transcripts
  • All non-U.S. transcripts must be evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). This allows LFS to determine if your education is equivalent to a U.S. college or university education. ACCRAO will send an evaluation of your educational institution and academic courses directly to LFS. To obtain an AACRAO application, instructions, and information, visit their website at www.aacrao.org, telephone (202) 296-3359, or send a FAX to (202) 422-3940.
  • If you are an applicant whose education and training/experience is from a non-U.S. school, college, university, or clinical laboratory, please make sure that your name is printed in English on all your transcripts and supporting documents and that it matches your name on the application. 


Training or experience

  • 12-month cytotechnologist program accredited by CAAHEP or equivalent

  • Five years of full-time clinical laboratory experience in cytology.
    • Experience must be within the last ten years.
    • At least two years must be obtained after completion of the academic requirements.
    • At least two years must be under the supervision of a licensed physician who is a board-eligible pathologist.


  • Verification of national certification examination.  
    • The ASCP certification for cytotechnologist is approved by the Department for cytotechnologist licensure.


Once you receive your license you will need to renew it every two years. To renew, you must pay a fee and submit documentation of continuing education. For information about the renewal process, including renewal fees, continuing education requirements, approved continuing education accrediting agencies, and the renewal form LAB 177, please visit the LFS renewal webpage



How to Apply for a California Cytotechnologist License

  • Apply online at https://healthappportal.cdph.ca.gov/osphld/perl
  • You will need a VISA or MasterCard to pay your application fee.
  • Transcripts must be original documents bearing the school, college, or university registrar’s seal, sent directly to LFS from the office of the college or university registrar. Request to have your transcripts mailed to:

Laboratory Field Services - Cytotechnology Program
850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P 1st Floor
Richmond, CA 94804

  • Other documents can be uploaded during the application process.


Documents you may need for your application:

  • Official transcripts, including the transcript showing your baccalaureate degree. 
  • AACRAO course-by-course evaluation.
  • Copy of Certificate of Completion of 12-month cytotechnologist program.
    Verification of five years of full-time clinical laboratory experience in cytology.
  • Verification of certification examination.
Last modified on: 11/18/2015 11:00 AM