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Laboratory Field Services

Cytotechnologist License

Thank you for your interest in the California Cytotechnologist license. Laboratory Field Services (LFS) requires applicants to submit documentation of academic coursework, clinical training, and 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 "Current Members" of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or "Endorsed Members" of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). This allows LFS to determine if your education is equivalent to a U.S. college or university education. The evaluation service will send an evaluation of your educational institution and academic courses directly to LFS.

To obtain an application, instructions, and information, visit them on the web:

If you are an applicant whose education, training, or 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.


The American Society of Clinical Pathology (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 please visit the LFS renewal web page.


Helpful links

Approved Cytology Training Programs (PDF)

LFS Approved Certification Examinations

Statutes and regulations

California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 1060, Cytotechnologist


The requirements listed may not be comprehensive.


How to Apply

Visit the LFS online application website to create an account and submit an application.

Apply Online  *You will need to pay your application fee online.

Note: Transcripts must be original documents bearing the school, college, or university registrar’s seal, and must be 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

*Incomplete application packages may be abandoned. All applicants whose applications have been abandoned who wish to re-apply must pay a new non-refundable application fee.


Documents you may need for your application

  • Official transcripts, including the transcript showing your baccalaureate degree.

  • NACES or AICE 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; offical verification of work experience must be on letterhead and signed by the laboratory director, and must show the beginning and ending dates of the experience. This information should cover all areas in which the rotation was completed with a description of the clinical laboratory tests or examinations performed.

  • Verification of certification examination.


For additional information you may contact


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