Pathologists' Assistant

Pathologists examine blood, cells, and tissues with microscopic devices to identify diseases and other medical disorders. Pathologists’ assistants assist pathologists with microscopic tissue evaluations and other medical tests. These specialists perform duties similar to pathologists, but they’re not authorized to make medical diagnoses. Most pathologists’ assistants are employed at various hospitals, medical laboratories, coroners’ offices, and medical schools.

Pathologists’ assistants are assigned these primary responsibilities:

  • Discussing tests and evaluations with pathologists
  • Examining specimens, writing reports, and conducting various tests
  • Assisting with autopsies

Education and Training

Pathologists’ assistants are required to complete formal training programs that typically take 4-6 years to finish. Bachelor’s and graduate degrees are available in this field. When selecting a program, be sure to choose one accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Pathologists’ assistants often begin their careers in other medical fields before completing the required training to make career transitions.

The American Society of Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP BOR) develops national certification requirements for pathologists’ assistants. Certified pathologists’ assistants must recertify every 3 years by completing 45 credits of continuing education.

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