Frequently Asked Questions for Cytotechnology Program

What is the average incoming GPA of your cytotechnology students?
We recommend a minimum incoming science GPA of 2.75.  If you are not sure if you qualify, ask to speak with an advisor at (909) 558-4966.

When should I apply?
Applications are accepted beginning January 1.  Early submission of application is recommended.  Preference will be given to applicants whose completed applications and transcripts are received by March 1.

What are the tuition rates?
Financial Information

Do I have to be a Seventh-day Adventist to get into the program?
Although Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) institution, we welcome students of all faiths.

I am graduating from high school in June, should I apply January 1 for early acceptance?
No, you should wait to apply until you are close to completing the prerequisite courses. It usually takes about two years to complete prerequisite coursework at another college before you can enter our program. We do not have an early acceptance program.

Can I enter your program right after high school as a college freshman?
No, students enter the cytotechnology program at the junior-year college level and transfer in from community colleges, other colleges, or universities.

Do I have to complete all the prerequisites before I apply?
No, you do not need to have all your prerequisites completed before you apply. Simply complete the section on the application called "Projected Study Plan" so that the admissions committee knows when you plan to complete the prerequisites. Some of our applicants take prerequisite courses during the summer session immediately before the program begins in September; however, these courses must be completed prior to the start date of the cytotechnology program.

How long does it usually take to complete all the prerequisites?
It usually takes a minimum of two years at another college to complete all prerequisites.

When does the program begin?
The program begins the last week of September with the start of fall quarter. 

Can I enter the program mid-year, for example in the winter or spring quarters?
Students are only allowed to enter the program at the beginning of the academic year, which begins fall quarter. If you miss the fall quarter entry date, you will have to wait until the following Fall to join the program.

What is the annual tuition for your program?
See program information for the latest tuition costs.

Do you provide financial aid or scholarships?
The financial aid office,, is able to fully fund many Loma Linda University students through grants, loans, or scholarships.

I already have a Bachelor's degree; can I enroll for just the clinical training portion of your program?
No, we do not accept students for the clinical training portion only. Even though you already have a BS or BA, if you join our program, you would still enter at the junior-year level and would receive a second bachelor's degree at the end of the senior year.  

Do you offer a certificate in Cytotechnology?
No, only a Bachelor's degree is offered. 

How soon can I get job as a Cytotechnologist after I graduate?
Graduates are immediately eligible to apply to the state for licensure and take the ASCP Board of Certification Exam. After passing the exam, graduates are eligible for employment. Only twelve states including California require state licensure for cytotechnologists.

What is the average starting salary for a cytotechnologist?
The average starting salary for a cytotechnologist in California is $64,000 per year, or about $31/hour.

Will I be able to work while I'm enrolled in the program?
The Cytotechnology program is a full time schedule with classes or clinical training scheduled all day, Monday through Friday. Full-time employment is not advisable and usually not possible. Some students work part-time during the program, but usually less than 10 hours/week.

How many of your graduates go on into medical or dental school?
Approximately 7 %  of Loma Linda University cytotechnology graduates go on to medicine, dentistry, physician's assistant, and pharmacy.

I have a degree from another country; can I get credit for any of those classes?
Before this question can be answered, you must have your transcripts evaluated by an accredited foreign transcript evaluation service:
1 DuPont Circle NW
Suite 520
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: (202) 872-8857

Does the LLU Cytotechnology program offer credit for experiential learning?
No, the LLU Cytotechnology program does not offer credit for experimental learning.

Student Advising

An advisor can look at this evaluation and let you know what courses you may still need. If you have a science degree, you may be lacking some of the prerequisite coursework in the humanities and social sciences.

If you plan on attending a local community college or university,select the school you plan on attending, and check the transfer courses at that school. It usually takes a minimum of 2 years at another college to complete these prerequisites.

If AACRAO determines that your foreign bachelor's degree is acceptable, and you join our program, you would still enter at the junior-year level, and would receive a second bachelor's degree at the end of the senior year.

I have been a licensed/registered cytotechnologist for several years but I have not screened Non-Gynecologic specimens since graduating from my cytology program. Do you offer re-training?

The cytotechnology department offers a one or two credit directed study course which can be tailored to a student’s needs including re-training for Non-Gynecologic and Fine Needle Aspiration cytology. This is open to registered cytotechnologists only. Please contact the program director for more information.

What is the difference between a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and a Cytotechnologist? Can I do both programs at the same time?

The clinical laboratory scientist/medical technologist (CLS/MT) supervises or performs laboratory tests that aid the physician in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient's disease. Often these tests--in clinical chemistry, medical microbiology, parasitology, hematology, immunology, blood transfusion services, urinalysis, immunoassay, and other analysis--disclose subtle changes that might not be detected in any other way.

A cytotechnologist working under the direction of a pathologist microscopically reviews patient samples (urine, CSF, Pap tests) to detect cell changes caused by different disease processes. A cytotechnologist is able to differentiate between normal, atypical and malignant cell changes and assists in detecting cancer at its earliest and potentially most curable stage.

While the both the CLS and cytotechnology programs are under the department of clinical laboratory science, it is not possible to attend both programs at the same time. Each program leads to a specific degree.

How many students do you accept per year?

The LLU cytology program generally accepts no more than six students per year.