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How to Become a Pathologist



If you are interested in science and medicine, then you might like to become a pathologist. A pathologist is a medical doctor whose speciality is the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The majority of the work of the pathologist is done in the laboratory, where they perform various tests to detect abnormalities or disease on the human body.

In their roles, a pathologist will receive various blood and tissue samples, which they will perform various tests on. they will sometimes form a diagnosis, or other times simply report back to the referring physician with the results. A pathologist has a doctorate in medicine, then completes further specialization to become a pathologist.

Education Requirements to Become a Pathologist



If you would like to become a pathologist, you will need to complete quite a bit of education. To begin, you'll need a four year undergraduate degree in pre-medicine. After college, you'll need to attend medical school, entrance is competitive and is based on your grade point average at college, as well as MCAT scores, an essay, and an interview.

You can see a list of accredited medical schools at the Association of American Medical Colleges website. Another good source of career information is the American Board of Medical Specialties.

After medical school you'll need to become licensed to practice in your state, and you will also then need to go on to complete a one year internship in medicine. After your internship is over, you will need to complete a residency in pathology. This can take between three and five years to complete.

Some pathologists go on to complete a fellowship which allows them a sub-specialty.

Pathologist Job Description



When you become a pathologist, you will work to diagnose illnesses by performing tests on human tissue and blood work. Sometimes you will simply report back to another physician with your findings. You could be diagnosing cancer, diabetes, or a whole range of other medical illnesses.

A pathologist has little direct contact with patients. Most of their work is done in a lab setting, but they do however, need to communicate regularly with other medical staff. They also need to write reports on their findings.

In busy periods, work can become hectic with medical staff demanding their results quickly. Many hospitals are sometimes understaffed, which can contribute to the problem further.

Some pathologists also study the way that illness and injury affects the body. They may be involved in research projects. Others teach aspiring pathologists as a part of their role.

Here are some of the duties of a pathologist:

  • Communicating with other medical staff

  • Completing tests on tissue and blood work

  • Forming a diagnosis

  • Reporting back to a referring physician

  • Administrative tasks

  • Medical research

  • Teaching


Pathologist Salary and Career Path



After you complete your residency, you'll be ready to work independently as a pathologist. Most work in hospitals, others may work in laboratories or research centers. For the most part, pathologists work a forty hour week, but may be required to work overtime on some occasions. In busy periods, or for the rare emergency case, a pathologist may be on call. Very few pathologists are self-employed.

Many pathologists go on to work in other fields of medicine, take on management positions, or go on to pursue their own research. As experts in illness and injury, some of the cutting edge medical research that is being done is led by qualified pathologists. Some go on to attain sub-specialties.

Job prospects when you become a pathologist are strong, with secure employment available. The median salary is $186,000 a year for a pathologist.

Some other roles that you might be interested include:

  • Medical doctor

  • Autopsy assistant

  • Surgeon

  • Medical researcher

  • Forensic pathologist


Working as a pathologist is a great way to contribute to the health of the community around you. There is a good salary available, and excellent employment prospects. When you become a pathologist you can look forward to a rewarding career path.
 
 
 
 
 
 

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
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