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How to Become a Pathology Assistant



Someone not squeamish and unfazed by messes may find working with the human body an easy task to accomplish. Looking into how to become a Pathology Assistant would be a great step for their career because not being squeamish is one of the natural skills a person needs to have in order to perform this job. Pathology Assistants work in a lab making incisions and working with bodily fluids in order to find the official cause of someone's death or examining biopsies under a microscope.

A Pathology Assistant can choose from a couple of specializations, they include the following:

Autopsy Pathology: Assist in conducting postmortem body inspections in order to help determine a cause of death.

Surgical Pathology: Assists in conducting surgical specimen dissections and securing samples to help diagnose conditions.

Pathology Assistants perform functions similar to that of a Pathologist. In fact, the only difference between the two is that a Pathology Assistant doesn't have the medical capacity to diagnose diseases. Under the supervision of a Pathologist, an Assistant is responsible for dissecting and acquiring samples, submitting them for tests and filling out important paperwork.

Candidates looking to become a Pathology Assistant should have excellent attention to detail and organizational skills in order to provide the most accurate test results.

Education Requirements to Become a Pathology Assistant



Pathology Assistants need educational and practical training in order to work in the field. The minimum requirement to become a Pathology Assistant is holding a Bachelor of Science with a focus on Medicine.

Such majors can include the following:

  • Biology

  • Nursing

  • Mortuary Science


With this course of study, candidates should be able to know the body and its mechanisms well in order to do laboratory work and dissections.

In order to become more competitive in the field, a Pathologist Assistant should enroll in a Master's Program. Entering a Pathologist Assistant Program should suffice as the majority of programs offer a Master's. Any work done in a Pathologist Assistant Program should be accomplished at an accredited institution certified by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

Additionally, Pathology Assistant candidates can opt to take a certification exam on a national level in order to show their competency in the field. After passing the certification exam, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) will grant a license in order to work as a Pathology Assistant. The license is valid for three years and recertification depends on the candidate taking continued education classes.

Pathology Assistant Job Description



A Pathology Assistant works under direct supervision of a Pathologist providing biopsy sample needed to determine a diagnosis. Pathology Assistants should be able to work well with their hands and have controlled and steady hand movements in order to perform autopsies or biopsies.

An Autopsy Pathology Assistant is also responsible for securing legal documentation from families in order to perform autopsies and releasing bodies to the families or a funeral home for burial. Pathology Assistants are required to know lab procedures in order to work in a secure lab environment as lab results depend on their careful work.

Pathology Assistants need to make sure they are handling remains and samples in a manner that protects theirs and other's health. Pathology Assistants are responsible for the following tasks:

  • Performing autopsies or acquiring biopsies

  • Dissecting and collecting samples

  • Observing dissections under a microscope

  • Running lab tests that provide a diagnosis


Other job responsibilities may also include training and teaching new Pathology Residents.

Pathology Assistant Salary and Career Path



Someone who wants to become a Pathology Assistant can look forward to a very promising career because of the medical industry's positive growth expectations. The medical industry continues to be one of the strongest and is expected to remain that way throughout the next decade.

A Pathology Assistant can work for a private pathology lab or for a public one such as a community hospital or an academic institution. Salary depends on the state of employment but typically starts at $65,000 to $90,000 annually. Experienced Pathology Assistants can expect to earn wages in the low $100,000s.

A professional group such as the American Association of Pathologist's Assistants (AAPA) provides support and information to members. Visit their website for more information regarding their services.
 
 
 
 
 
 

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
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