Pathology Career Guide: Qualifications, Job Description & Career Prospects

December 30, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A pathologist is a physician that is highly trained in different investigational techniques necessary for diagnosing and treating a wide range of diseases by determining the causes of the symptoms and the nature of the progression. This is done by performing a variety of physical, biological and chemical experiments and analysing microscopic specimen tissue, bodily fluids, and cells.
As a pathologist, you can choose to sub-specialise in several different kinds of pathology, including:

Some of the job functions of a pathologist could include:

Pathologists work in hospitals, wards, private practices offices, in research institutions or in the lab or teaching. Most pathologists work regular 40 hour weeks, and while many pathologists work in rotating shifts they still have more free time than most other physician specialties. In many instances, pathologists act as part of a patient’s medical team.

Training Requirements

To become a medical pathologist, you must complete 4 years of med school, after which you will have to do a 3 to 4-year exacting residency program in pathology. The duration of the program depends on what area you choose to train in. If you intend doing just clinical or anatomic pathology it will be three years and if you wanted a combined training of both it will be four years. If you choose to sub-specialise in one of the areas mentioned earlier, you’ll need to also complete an additional year of fellowship training or two years if you want to go into neuropathology.
What is important to remember is that you have study to first be a doctor, a dentist or a vet before you can become a pathologist. There is absolutely no other way. Forensic science degrees and biomedical sciences degrees don’t help – you still have to become a medical doctor first!

Pathologist Salary

The average annual salary of pathologists in the UK is £58,990. This varies depending on the number of years of experience as well as the healthcare facility you choose to work in.

Career Outlook

The employment outlook for medical professionals in any specialty is very good and there is expected to be a boom in the demand for physicians and surgeons. This expected boom is also true for pathologists as they are highly trained and continually improving their skills and abilities to be used in a broader range of ways. Competition tends to be more apparent when looking for professor jobs, but there are almost always opportunities available in hospital and research university labs.

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