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Pathologist Job Description, Career as a Pathologist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

pathologists medical pathology disease

Education and Training: Doctoral degree

Salary: Varies—see profile

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Pathologists are biological or medical scientists who study the nature, causes, and effects of disease in plant and animal life. Pathology is a broad field that concentrates on the changes in organs, tissues, and cells that are caused by disease.

Pathologists work in hospitals, medical laboratories, schools, colleges, and universities. They may teach or do laboratory work or research. They are employed by government agencies associated with agriculture, public health, law enforcement, and many other fields. Private companies that make products such as drugs and insecticides also employ pathologists.

Pathologist using a microscope

Pathologists concentrate on plant, animal, or human pathology. Although the areas of study of these pathologists are very different, they are all scientists who study disease. Pathology has been called the bridge between basic science and medicine. Pathologists who are concerned with human disease are usually physicians who have received specialized training in pathology. They are sometimes called medical pathologists or are classified according to their subspecialty, such as oral pathology.

Although medical pathologists do not treat patients of their own, they do laboratory tests to diagnose disease in the patients of other physicians. They perform tests on body tissues, secretions, and other specimens to see whether a disease is present and to determine its stage. They evaluate the extent of the disease, estimate the course it is likely to take, and suggest ways to treat the disease. Surgeons may consult pathologists if they find unexpected problems during an operation. Pathologists often stand by during surgery to test specimens taken from a tumor in a patient's body. The patient may remain under anesthesia until the pathologist can evaluate the specimens. Based on the pathologist's expert advice, the surgeon is able to complete the operation in the way best suited to the patient's condition.

Pathologists also do postmortem examinations to determine the cause of death when the cause is unclear. They can evaluate the extent to which treatment had helped a patient. Pathologists' reports help physicians in their care of other patients with similar conditions. Sometimes pathologists serve as medical examiners or coroner's consultants. They determine the cause of death in accidents, poisonings, and suspected murders. Pathologists coordinate and supervise the work of medical laboratory technologists or technicians who prepare specimens or may perform the more routine laboratory tests themselves. Pathologists often specialize in one field, such as hematology (the study of the blood), blood banking, neuropathology (diseases of the nervous system), forensic (or legal) pathology, medical chemistry, medical microbiology, or radioisotopic pathology.

Medical pathologists frequently teach students in schools and colleges that train nurses, physicians, medical laboratory technologists, technicians, and other health care workers. They sometimes conduct seminars for physicians and interns in hospitals. They help train law enforcement officers to use scientific methods of observation when they investigate injuries or deaths. Pathologists also do scientific research into drugs and disease. Laboratories developing new drugs need pathologists to study their safety. Pathologists use microscopes, radioisotopes, and other equipment to study the cause of disease. They also use scientific methods and computerized data as they test theories about disease processes. Cancer, atherosclerosis, allergies, and birth defects are among the many diseases being studied by medical pathologists.

Animal pathologists may be veterinarians or zoologists (animal scientists). Veterinarians specializing in pathology study diseases and disorders in animals. They often specialize in poultry, livestock, or pets. They also help to improve the quality of livestock and poultry used for human food. In addition, their work helps to save human lives since animals can transmit diseases such as rabies and tuberculosis to human beings. Similar to veterinarians and medical pathologists, zoologists specializing in pathology may study the effects of disease, parasites, and insects on the cells, tissues, and organs of animals. Unlike other pathologists, zoologists are often trained to work with a wide variety of animal species. They may study hereditary diseases or disorders in fruit flies in order to increase knowledge about the ways diseases are passed on over a period of many generations. They may study the development of tumors in mice to get clues about the causes and development of cancer in human beings. Animal pathologists often use equipment and methods that are similar to those used by medical pathologists. Zoologists and veterinarians working in animal pathology are employed by colleges and universities, centers for veterinary medicine, zoos, and wildlife refuges as well as government agencies and private industry.

Plant pathologists are botanists (plant scientists) whose special field is sometimes called phytopathology. Sometimes plant pathologists do basic research into the nature of disease in living things. For example, they may study the effect of air pollution on the respiration rate and on the cells and tissues of plants. This study may have applications for medical pathologists who are concerned with the role of industrial pollution in causing lung cancer or emphysema in human beings. On the other hand, many plant pathologists do research that directly relates to plant diseases. They devise ways to control or prevent plant diseases. They help to develop new types of plants that are disease resistant. Their work is useful in improving our food, fiber, and lumber supplies and in preserving the ornamental plants and trees that make our environment more healthful and attractive. Plant pathologists use many of the same kinds of laboratory equipment and scientific methods that medical and animal pathologists use. Plant pathologists teach and do research in colleges and universities. They work for government agencies and private firms involved in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and related fields.

Education and Training Requirements

You need advanced training to become a pathologist. As an undergraduate, you should major in premedical studies, a biological science, chemistry, or a related field. Although individuals with bachelor's degrees can find some jobs as medical laboratory technologists or advanced biological technicians, their opportunities for advancement are limited. People who have earned a master's degree in plant or animal pathology or in microbiology, biochemistry, or a related field may be qualified for some jobs in teaching or applied research. It generally takes four years to earn a bachelor's degree and another one or two years to obtain a master's degree.

To be a fully qualified pathologist you need a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). If you want to work with plant diseases, you should obtain a doctoral degree in plant pathology or a related field in botany. If you prefer to work in animal science, you can get a doctoral degree in zoology or pathology or the degree of doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.). You will need to spend about four additional years in advanced training after you have graduated from a four-year college.

Medical pathologists usually go to medical school for four years after they graduate from college. They receive the degree of doctor of medicine (M.D.). In some cases they spend six years in medical school and earn a doctoral degree in pathology in addition to their medical degree. After medical school, pathologists spend about four more years in a hospital as a resident in pathology. If they choose, they may also take additional training in one of the subspecialties in medical pathology. Medical pathologists need to be licensed by their state to practice medicine and must also be certified by the American Board of Pathology. Medical pathologists are likely to spend a total of at least twelve years in training before they are fully qualified in their profession. Pathologists must spend time reading and studying throughout their careers in order to keep up with new developments in their field.

Getting the Job

The professors and placement service at your university or medical school are the best sources of information for finding a job in pathology. Openings for pathologists are often listed in professional journals. The conventions of the major pathology associations often have job notice boards and are good places for making job contacts. You can also apply directly to private firms, medical centers, colleges and universities, or government agencies that hire pathologists.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Pathologists are highly trained professionals who usually advance by improving their skills and becoming experts in their field. They can also advance to become full professors in colleges or universities or directors of research or administrators at universities, medical centers, government agencies, or private companies. Pathologists in the medical field can advance to a position as head of the pathology department in a large hospital. They can also start their own diagnostic laboratories or become consultants to private industry.

The job outlook for pathologists is very good. There is likely to be competition for teaching jobs in universities, but there should be new jobs for pathologists in research and medical laboratory work.

Opportunities for those with bachelor's or master's degrees in pathology are expected to be better than the opportunities for those with doctoral degrees. Jobs will be plentiful in private industry, large hospitals, and medical centers. As a result of increased public interest in preserving the environment, expanding food supplies, and improving health care, private companies are expected to devote funds to research in pathology. There will be a great number of positions in sales, marketing, and research management.

Working Conditions

Because pathology is a broad field, working conditions vary. However, most pathologists spend some time in scientific or medical research laboratories that are usually well equipped. Depending on their field, pathologists may also spend time in greenhouses, on farms, in hospital wards, or in morgues. Pathologists often work at least part of the time in offices and classrooms. The basic workweek may be forty hours long. Hours are flexible, however, and often total more than forty hours a week. Although pathologists may have to work rotating shifts, their hours are usually more regular than those of physicians who have their own practices.

Pathologists of all kinds are likely to spend time planning projects, attending meetings, and studying the findings of other scientists. They should have the ability to absorb a great deal of information and the patience to complete lengthy research projects. They must be careful and precise workers, especially when their diagnosis is crucial in setting the direction of patient care. Pathologists should be able to work alone, but they also need to cooperate with other members of a medical or scientific team. Pathologists must be able to express their ideas well orally and in writing.

Where to Go for More Information

American College of Veterinary Pathologists
2810 Crossroads Dr., Ste. 3800
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 443-2466
http://www.acvp.org

The American Pathology Foundation
1202 Allanson Rd.
Mundelein, IL 60060
(877) 993-9935
http://www.americanpathologyfoundation.org

College of American Pathologists
325 Waukegan Rd.
Northfield, IL 60093-2750
(800) 323-4040
http://www.cap.org

American Phytopathological Society
3340 Pilot Knob Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55121-2097
(651) 454-7250
http://www.apsnet.org

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings vary depending on the experience of the pathologist, the location, and the kind of job. In 2003 the median salary range of veterinary pathologists working in industry with up to five years experience was $120,000 to $140,000. The median salary range in academia was $80,000 to $100,000. In 2006 medical pathologists with M.D. degrees earned a median salary of $210,984. Salaried pathologists usually receive benefits that include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans. Self-employed pathologists do not receive benefits.

Pharmaceutical Technician Job Description, Career as a Pharmaceutical Technician, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job [next] [back] Paleontologist Job Description, Career as a Paleontologist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

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over 6 years ago

What about opportunities in the USA to get a job in pathology after finishing Medical University abroad (for example, Ukrainian Medical University)?

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over 5 years ago

Im also doing a 4-6 page essay on medical plants and i'm in 9th grade. I found this info very useful.

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about 5 years ago

.For Professor of Plant Pathology /

.Microbiology

. Plant Sciences

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almost 6 years ago

Hi , I'm from Myanmar .PhD Pathology now working in Central Children Hopsital ( Medical university attached , affiliated hospital ) as Associate Professor. Being Pathologist for 14 years now. Salary read in your web page is too impressed. If I search a post there., what do I need more in qualification?

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about 6 years ago

What are some related occupations to becoming a medical pathologist? i am in high school and I'm thinking about becoming either a medical pathologist or something related.

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over 5 years ago

This is wonderful. Full fledged description has been given about paleontologist profession. Well done!!

http://www.educationrequirements.org/paleontologist’s.html

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over 6 years ago

do u have to go to medical school for 4 years?

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over 6 years ago

I'm intersting make a posdoc in wild life forensic pathology, can some body help me?

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almost 4 years ago

gud

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almost 4 years ago

Being a dentist, What is the career opportunity of an oral pathologist. How can they get a job . What is the job description and where to find a job.How can one become an oral pathologist?. What's the scope of MPhil in Oral pathology??

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over 2 years ago

am doing biomedical science and am in my secon year at a medical school, but i want to become a pathologist, so how can i accomplish my go?

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over 3 years ago

Ive done Medical sciences

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about 4 years ago

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful....

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almost 5 years ago

I am currently in the military and possess a Bachelors Degree in Life Science- Pre-Med. I have been removed from academia for over three years; however, I have plans to attend medical school sometime in the near future after I am finish with my military obligation. What do you recommend I do in order to stay competitive for medical school and what should I do if I would like to pursue a career in Pathology?

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about 5 years ago

.For Professor of Plant Pathology /

.Microbiology

. Plant Sciences

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about 6 years ago

I am in 3rd grade and im doing a reasurch project on this

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over 5 years ago

where do u have to go to be a animal pathologist

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almost 6 years ago

Thank you for this brief but enlightening information on PATHOLOGIST job description.This will change the misconception that some people have about Pathologist through misrepresentation by a group of professionals for ulterior motive.

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almost 6 years ago

I'm in high school. Are there any specialized classes I should take, like biomedical engineering??

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over 5 years ago

I'm a medical doctor with speciality nuclear medecine in gyn-obst. Good experience in general practitioner Certified in human right zone central Africa.Certified in monotoring Intenational system.Need to work like a forensic doctor.Old technican of medical laboratory...etc.

thank you very much

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about 6 years ago

I AM FROM SOUTH AFRICA IN AFRICA DOING MY FIRST YEAR IN BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND WOULD LIKE TO END UP BEING A PATHOLOGIEST

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almost 4 years ago

How much does a pathologist make?

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over 4 years ago

My husband did M.Sc(Ag)in Plant Pathology in 1979 from A.P.A.U,Hyderabad,A.P.
Subsequently,he got job in bank and continuing the same.
Now,he wants to turn to Human Pathologist.What are the courses available in U.S.A. and how he gets eligibility.

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almost 5 years ago

Hello,
I was wondering if you happen to know if I can go from working as a traveling nurse to a medical pathologist? I have been researching but I haven't found the exact answer nor how long will it take. Thank you for your time.

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almost 5 years ago

Im from the UK,but now live in California,I'm looking for work in animal pathology,I work in this field in the UK for a number of years.i did 4 years training,then qualified...

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over 5 years ago

This is great I am a student from Silva Health Magnet in El Paso, TX. I have to do a project on my career and this really helped it answered all my questions I had and in great deatil, so thank you to the author.

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almost 6 years ago

hi me sachin completed my vete. pathology and i am keenly interested in research and developement ,,,,,,,,,,,

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almost 6 years ago

mbbs dcp working in apollo hospital since ten years as hod pathologist

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over 5 years ago

what is the salary per year

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over 2 years ago

this z good

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almost 4 years ago

.....

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about 6 years ago

I AM FROM SOUTH AFRICA IN AFRICA DOING MY FIRST YEAR IN BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND WOULD LIKE TO END UP BEING A PATHOLOGIEST

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almost 5 years ago

HI

IAM HAVING FR. LAB OF SRL RANBAXY AT HOSHANGABAD MP & I NEED A FULL TIME PATHOLOGIST ON ROLL OF SRL WITH PACKAGE OF 8 TO 10 LACS /AN UM KINDLY HELP



REGARDS

DR GURBANI

M.NO. 9827251398

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over 5 years ago

hi its me afain doctor kevin i built the phsycian labratories for all the docotors in london to see and ontario and the rest of them in canada and america i want to work next month in march but i have to build 2 more lab sections

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over 5 years ago

im in 10th grade and want to become a veterinary pathologist... any advice, i took bio in 9th grade, chemistry and microbiology now, next year i plan on taking AP BIO, then Anatomy, Honors English ... also any colleges with that are good with Pre-vet, pathology or anything i should be majoring in??

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almost 6 years ago

How would I cite this article? (I just want the author).

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about 4 years ago

study for 12 years? that's unbelievable I'll just be a pharmacist instead

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almost 5 years ago

I LIKE THIS SITE.THANK YOU

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almost 6 years ago

hello I am in 3rd year in college. were having a discussion about what the pathologist worked with the dead body.i am looking for your responded.... God bless!!!!!

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about 6 years ago

woow i pride my job. i am resident of pathology center of pathology Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

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over 6 years ago

Dear Sir,

Urgently required one pathologist who can independently perform blind & guided FNAC,HISTOPATHOLOGY,Cytology etc.at our diagnostic centre.

Yours

Shuvankar Maitra,

09434110899 (M)

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almost 6 years ago

I AM FROM ASIA IN BANGLADESH LIVING.
I REID THE DIPLOMA IN PATHOLOGY(BANGLADESH TECHNICAL EDUCATION BORD) DOING MY FIRST AND THEE RD YEAR IN BIOMEDICAL,HEMATOLOGY,CYTOLOGY,SEROLOGY , HORMONE, TECHNOLOGY AND WOULD LIKE TO END UP BEING A PATHOLOGIEST

Read more: Pathologist Job Description, Career as a Pathologist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/412/Pathologist.html#ixzz1QYGVaPZf

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over 5 years ago

I would love to learn more about this job and i have one question. How do you know that you have the qualifications of this job? what about jobs in america for a pathologist which one do you think is the one for me? also have anyone every tried the job and thought that it just was not what they wanted? could that be me because i have had my heart set on this job sence i was 3 years old now im 17 and would still like to do this job

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over 5 years ago

This is wonderful. Full fledged description has been given about paleontologist profession. Well done!!

http://www.educationrequirements.org/paleontologist’s.html

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over 5 years ago

hi i am ranodip from bangladesh i have complete my diploma from gov.institute and bs from reported university(DHAKA UNIVERSITY).i want to be pathologist.how it will be possible.

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about 6 years ago

pathologist

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almost 6 years ago

hi me sachin completed my vete. pathology and i am keenly interested in research and developement ,,,,,,,,,,,