Military Sealift Command

Job Description


The Cytotechnologists position is located in the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston, Texas. This position is responsible for: reporting the microscopic interpretation of normal pap smear tests used to detect cervical cancer; providing preliminary interpretation of specimens from other body sites; and collaborating with Pathologists to diagnose benign and infectious processes, precancerous lesions, and malignant diseases.


Current permanent VA employees should apply under CBST-10806008-20-MP. Major Duties include: Examines and evaluates the cell sample for the presence or absence of normal/abnormal cellular patterns, presence of micro-organisms, inflammatory reactions, benign changes, premalignant conditions, neoplasia, and cellular responses to therapeutic agents. Compares the microscopic findings with recognized cytomorphic criteria. Evaluates the clinical data of the patient and relate this to the microscopic findings. Makes primary cytodiagnosis. Gives Cytology reports and instructions for specimen collection techniques to nursing units and physicians. Receives samples, determining adequacy and quality of specimen prior to recording data in VistA Log-in, Anatomic Pathology computer program. Maintains and prepares all Cytology solutions, reagents, and stains. Operates, maintains, and troubleshoots all the equipment in the Cytology Lab. Maintains all Cytology records to include slide files, report files and teaching files. Teaches Physician Residents and Students the principles and techniques of Cytology. Participates in the presentation of papers and microscopy workshops at professional meetings of Cytotechnologists and Physicians. Evaluates and selects reagents, supplies, and equipment; establishes and maintains inventory controls. Prepares AMIS reports for workload recording units of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and other statistics as required by the department. Establishes priorities in specimen processing according to established guidelines and clinical considerations. Provides information requested from physicians, nurses, ward clerks, etc. regarding the function and operation of the Laboratory Service as it relates to patient care. The incumbent exercises all required safety guidelines and works with great care in handling the specimens and uses personal protective equipment including face shields, masks, gloves, and laboratory coats according to established guidelines. Observes safety regulations, maintains a clean and neat work area. Maintains current certification in the field of Cytology. Work Schedule: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


Conditions of Employment


Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. English Language Proficiency-Cytotechnologists must be proficient in spoken and written English. See 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f). Education- Individuals must have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university and successfully completed a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredited cytotechnology program. NOTE: Transcripts for each of these 2 requirements must be submitted Certification - Candidates must currently possess the Cytotechnologist (CT) (ASCP) or Specialist in Cytotechnology (SCT) (ASCP) certification given by the ASCP Board of Certification. Loss of Certification. An employee who fails to maintain the required certification must be removed from the occupation, which may also result in termination of employment. Grandfathering Provision. All cytotechnologists employed in VHA, in this occupational series, performing the duties as described in the qualification standard on the effective date of this qualification standard, are considered to have met all the qualification requirements for the grade held, including positive education and certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements of this standard, but met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to the position, the following provisions apply:

(1) Cytotechnologists that do not meet the basic requirements for education and certification may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance level, or demoted within the occupation, but may not be promoted beyond the full performance level or placed in supervisory or managerial positions.

(2) Cytotechnologists appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended, or be reappointed on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard.

(3) Cytotechnologists initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain education and/or certification that meets all the basic requirements of this qualification standard, must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation.

(4) Cytotechnologists who were retained in this occupation, under this provision, and subsequently leave the occupation, lose protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate the KSAs and the advanced KSA as identified by the corresponding asterisk(s): Ability to independently determine specimen adequacy using complex specialized testing methods or techniques during Endoscopic Ultrasound, Endobronchial Ultrasound, and other Fine Needle Aspiration procedures. Knowledge of pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical processes to establish and monitor the overall laboratory quality management and quality control program, and initiate corrective action as needed. Skill in collecting, compiling, and analyzing data for quality assurance, statistics, trends and reports, and implementing quality improvement initiatives. Skill in researching, testing, validating, and implementing new procedures and equipment. Ability to perform ultrathin microtomy and operate an electron microscope. Knowledge of microanatomy sufficient to note ultrastructural and microchemical findings. Ability to convey knowledge of safety regulations and guidelines such as CAP, JC, and OSHA, and to ensure staff compliance with safety requirements, including continuing education and employee orientation. Knowledge and skill to plan and administer an ongoing continuing education program for the laboratory to meet accreditation standards. **Skill to maintain and troubleshoot computers and laboratory system instrumentation. Grade Determinations: GS-11 References: VA Handbook 5005/126 PART II APPENDIX G61 Physical Requirements: This factor covers the requirements and physical demands placed on the Histopathology Technologist by the work assignment. This includes physical characteristics and abilities (e.g., specific agility and dexterity requirements) and the physical exertion involved in the work (e.g., climbing, lifting, pushing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, or reaching). To some extent the frequency or intensity of physical exertion must also be considered -- for example, a job requiring prolonged standing involves more physical exertion than a job requiring intermittent standing. The work is primarily sedentary, although there may be some walking or standing; carrying of light items such as manuals, reagents, and small instruments, etc. The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion such as prolonged standing, bending over microscopes, centrifuges, reaching for supplies or materials, and lifting moderately heavy items such as centrifuges and record boxes (or occasionally lifting heavier items such as reagent packs). The work may require specific physical characteristics and abilities such as dexterity (to perform intricate specimen processing or analysis procedures) and color vision.


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education. Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

Additional Information

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment. This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status. VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority. Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members. If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

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