Pathology Assistant Schools and Colleges

Read about graduate degree programs in pathology assisting, and check the availability of online learning options. Explore specialty areas, such as surgical pathology. Review the licensure requirements and voluntary certification options. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Pathology assistants need to hold a bachelor's and a master's degree. Undergraduate programs specifically in pathology assisting typically aren't available, so many aspiring pathology assistants pursue undergraduate studies in majors such as science, medical technology, histology or clinical laboratory science, then go on to earn a master's degree. At the graduate level, you can typically find a pathology assistant program in the pathology department of the medical school or school of health sciences. The program will most likely be affiliated with a school of medicine, or other medical facility, so that you'll have resources for clinical coursework.

Courses Microbiology, forensic pathology, clinical laboratory management; how to prep and analyze tissue samples
Degrees Master's degrees
Programs Should be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)

Which Schools Offer Pathology Assistant Programs?

It is recommended that the pathology assistant program you choose be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The American Association of Pathologists' Assistants (AAPA) maintains a list of the schools with NAACLS-accredited masster's level pathology assistant programs. As of 2018, these schools are as follows:

  • Drexel University
  • Duke University
  • Indiana University
  • University of Maryland
  • Qunnipiac University
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Wayne State University
  • West Virginia University

Loma Linda University in California and the University of Toledo in Ohio also appear on this list; neither have yet achieved accreditation as of summer 2018 but are under serious consideration by NAACLS.

What Courses Can I Expect to Take in a Pathology Assistant Program?

A graduate pathology assistant program combines intensive classroom studies with hands-on labs. Courses such as forensic pathology, microbiology and clinical laboratory management require work in a lab. Classes you can expect to take in this kind of program include the following:

  • Medical pathology
  • Surgical pathology
  • Autopsy pathology
  • Systemic pathology
  • Human histology
  • Medical microbiology

Are There Any Online Training Options?

These programs are not typically offered online. A full-time pathology assistant master's degree program can take approximately two years and requires an extensive amount of hands-on study. Most of the pathology courses are accompanied by a lab, which must be completed on-site. Clinical rotations are also a part of a master's degree program for pathology assistants, and these require students to serve in hospitals, surgical centers, and coroner's offices. In addition, most programs require students to take didactic courses in person, not online.

What Specialties Could I Pursue?

Many pathology assistant master's degree programs include specialized instruction in surgical and autopsy pathology. These areas are typically introduced during clinical rotations. With surgical pathology, you'll learn to prepare and analyze tissue samples for further review and diagnosis. Autopsy pathology assistants examine postmortem tissue and follow legal guidelines in accordance with preparing death certificates and reviewing the medical records of their subjects.

What Certification or Licensing Do I Need?

While voluntary, certification from a professional association is often preferred by employers. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers pathology assistant certification under the specialist category. To qualify for the certification exam, the ASCP requires you to complete a bachelor's degree program and a NAACLS-accredited pathology assistant master's degree program within the last five years. Review your state and federal laws when looking into a pathologist assistant program.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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