What Are Some Career Options in the Field of Pathology?

Pathologists study and diagnose disease by analyzing samples of tissue and bodily fluids, and the career options in pathology are numerous. Read on to learn more about your career choices in this field. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Field of Pathology

Pathology is a broad medical specialty that involves examining bodily tissues and fluids to study and diagnose diseases. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), general pathology is an umbrella term that encompasses both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology. Anatomic pathologists study tissue and organs, while clinical pathologists analyze blood, urine and tissue samples using techniques from chemistry and microbiology. To become a pathologist, you'll need to earn your Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and complete a residency program.

Important Facts About This Occupational Field

Median Salary (2014) $59,430 (for medical and clinical lab technicians)
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 30% (for medical and clinical lab technicians)
Key Skills Dexterity, physical stamina, technology use ability, detail oriented

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options in Anatomic Pathology

Anatomic pathologists examine organs, tissues and bodies to diagnose the causes of death or disease. Career options within the field of anatomic pathology include cytopathology (studying cells and cell disorders), forensic pathology (determining the cause of an individual's death) and molecular pathology (conducting specialized studies using techniques relying on nucleic acids). Another career option in anatomic pathology is surgical pathology, which involves using surgically removed tissue samples to diagnose diseases. Here are some subspecialties within the field of surgical pathology:

  • Neuropathology
  • Gynecologic pathology
  • Endocrine pathology
  • Cardiac pathology

Career Options in Clinical Pathology

Clinical pathologists use techniques derived from microbiology, hematology, chemistry and molecular pathology to analyze bodily fluids and tissues and make clinical diagnoses. Hemotopathology is a subspecialty of clinical pathology that involves studying blood, bone marrow and lymph node samples to identify diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. Transfusion medicine specialists are clinical pathologists who are responsible for managing the quality of the blood supply. Clinical microbiology is a pathology specialization that explores the effects of microorganisms on people, and chemical pathology is a subspecialty of clinical pathology that involves routine testing of bodily fluids, as well as tests for disorders like:

  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Hormone disorders
  • Poisoning

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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