Pathologists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat disease by examining tissues, blood samples, and other biological specimens. Pathologists usually work in medical laboratories. Although most people associate pathologists with autopsies, they perform many other duties. The following are pathology specialists:

  • Clinical Pathologist – These specialists conduct and supervise laboratory tests on various biological specimens.
  • Anatomic Pathologist – These specialists review specimens for surgeons who need immediate results during surgery.
  • Forensic Pathologist – These specialists assist police investigators by examining blood and other bodily fluids collected at crime scenes.

Many pathologists develop new research methods and laboratory technology, teach at medical schools, and work at county medical examiner offices.

Pathologists solve problems and utilize sophisticated technology to discover new methods to diagnose and treat disease. There are more than 2,000 laboratory tests pathologists can conduct to diagnose disease, solve crimes, and participate in scientific research.

Working Conditions
Pathologists are employed at hospitals, medical clinics, commercial laboratories, colleges and universities, and medical examiner offices. Currently, 13,000 to 14,000 certified pathologists practice throughout the United States.

Entry-level salaries for certified pathologists fall between $126,000-150,000 annually.

Career Training and Education

Pathologists are required to complete medical school, followed by 4-5 year residencies. To specialize, additional education is required. Following successful completion of medical school and a residency, you'll become qualified to take the necessary tests to become board certified.

Additional information about careers in pathology can be obtained from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

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