Career Development

What Does a Pathologist Do?

Find out what a pathologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a pathologist.

Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in the field of pathology. They examine tissue samples and other bodily fluids to diagnose disease, monitor disease progression, and determine the best course of treatment.

Pathologists may also be involved in research related to their specialty area. This can include developing new tests or procedures for detecting diseases earlier or more accurately than is currently possible.

Pathologist Job Duties

Pathologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing tests to identify infectious disease agents, trace chemical exposure, or determine the presence of allergens in patients’ blood samples
  • Recommending treatment options based on findings from diagnostic procedures
  • Performing autopsies to determine cause of death in cases where there is suspicion of unnatural death
  • Performing biopsies to obtain samples of tissues for microscopic examination
  • Conducting research and publishing findings in scientific journals
  • Establishing and maintaining clinical relationships with clients to ensure they are receiving the best possible care
  • Evaluating results of laboratory tests to determine whether changes in treatment plans are needed
  • Conducting research in conjunction with medical school faculty members to advance knowledge of disease processes and treatments
  • Conducting initial patient examinations to determine patient health status and to identify possible causes of illness or disease

Pathologist Salary & Outlook

Pathologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of pathology they specialize in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $225,000 ($108.17/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $143,000 ($68.75/hour)

The employment of pathologists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need for pathologists will be driven by the increasing aging population and the continued growth and complexity of medical technology. As people age, they are more likely to have cancer or other diseases that require diagnosis. In addition, as medical technology advances, more types of tests are available, which will increase demand for pathologists.

Pathologist Job Requirements

A pathologist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Pathologists need a doctoral degree to practice. They can earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).

The first part of the medical school curriculum is similar for both M.D. and D.O. students. They take classes in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology and pathology. They also complete clinical rotations in which they learn to diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of experienced physicians.

The second part of medical school is where the two degrees differ. M.D. students complete courses in medical specialties, such as pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. They also complete a residency program, which is a supervised practice period in a medical specialty. D.O. students complete a residency program in osteopathic medicine.

Training & Experience: Pathologists receive most of their training through residencies and fellowships. Residencies last from four to seven years and fellowships last from one to three years. During these periods, pathologists work under the supervision of a practicing pathologist. They learn how to perform autopsies, diagnose diseases and treat patients.

Certifications & Licenses: Pathologists must be licensed in the state in which they practice. To become licensed, they must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). To apply for licensure, pathologists need to submit an application, proof of education, proof of clinical experience and pass the licensure exam.

Pathologist Skills

Pathologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Pathologists often communicate with patients and their families, as well as other medical professionals. They may also be required to communicate complex medical information to the general public. Effective communication skills can help pathologists convey information clearly and compassionately.

Technical knowledge: Pathologists need technical knowledge to understand medical procedures and processes. They need to understand how medical professionals perform procedures and tests to interpret the results. They also need technical knowledge to understand medical equipment and processes to identify diseases and conditions.

Attention to detail: Pathologists need to have excellent attention to detail to ensure they’re accurately recording test results and identifying the correct causes of death. Attention to detail can also help them identify any abnormalities in a patient’s medical history or test results that may indicate a more serious condition.

Scientific method: Pathologists use scientific method to conduct research and experiments to identify diseases and their causes. They use scientific method to develop and follow procedures to examine and test samples, which helps them interpret results and make conclusions.

Empathy: Pathologists often work with patients and their families to explain test results and treatment options. Empathy can help pathologists communicate with patients and their families, which can help them explain medical information and answer questions.

Pathologist Work Environment

Pathologists work in hospitals, medical laboratories, and private offices. They work with a variety of medical personnel, including physicians, nurses, and technicians. They also work with patients and their families to provide information about the results of laboratory tests and to answer any questions they may have. Pathologists typically work a 40-hour week, but they may be on call to provide consultation services outside of normal working hours. They may also be required to work evenings and weekends to complete reports and to be available for consultation with other medical personnel.

Pathologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how pathologists work. Pathologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Pathology

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in pathology is a growing trend that is quickly becoming more popular among pathologists. AI can be used to help pathologists make diagnoses faster and more accurately, which can save time and money for hospitals and patients.

As the use of AI in pathology becomes more common, pathologists will need to learn how to work with these systems and trust their results. This will require them to have a strong understanding of how AI works and how it can be used to improve patient care.

A Greater Focus on Preventative Medicine

Pathologists are increasingly being asked to focus on preventative medicine, which involves early detection and treatment of diseases. This shift is due to the increasing cost of healthcare and the realization that many diseases can be prevented if they are caught early enough.

As pathologists become more involved in preventative medicine, they will need to develop skills in areas such as biostatistics and epidemiology. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the healthcare team in order to coordinate efforts towards prevention.

More Collaboration Between Pathologists and Other Healthcare Professionals

Pathologists are increasingly collaborating with other healthcare professionals in order to provide better care for patients.

This trend is driven by the fact that pathologists now have access to more data than ever before, which allows them to make more informed decisions about patient care. In order to take advantage of this trend, pathologists will need to develop strong relationships with other healthcare professionals and learn how to work together to provide the best possible care for patients.

How to Become a Pathologist

A pathologist career can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider the many different aspects of this profession before making a decision about whether or not it’s right for you.

One of the most important things to think about is where you want to work. Do you want to work in a hospital, clinic, or lab setting? Or do you prefer to work in private practice? There are also many different specialties within pathology that you could pursue, such as anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, forensic pathology, or molecular pathology.

It’s also important to consider what type of work you want to do. Do you want to perform autopsies on deceased patients? Or do you prefer to perform biopsies on living patients? There are many different opportunities available within pathology, so it’s important to find a job that matches your interests and skills.

Advancement Prospects

Pathologists typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility and leadership roles. For example, a pathologist who is in charge of a laboratory may be promoted to director of the laboratory. A pathologist who is in charge of a pathology department may be promoted to chief of pathology. In addition, pathologists may advance in their careers by becoming involved in research or teaching.

Pathologist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide the highest quality of patient care by utilizing the latest technology and employing the most qualified staff. We are looking for a pathologist to join our team and provide expert diagnostic services to our patients. The ideal candidate will have a medical degree with specialized training in pathology. He or she will be experienced in performing and interpreting a variety of laboratory tests, as well as have a strong understanding of disease processes. The pathologist will play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of our patients, and will be an important member of the healthcare team.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Examine tissues and organs to determine the cause of disease, injury, or death
  • Study the effects of disease on the body
  • Develop methods for diagnosing diseases
  • Determine the best course of treatment for diseases
  • Investigate new treatments for diseases
  • Teach medical students and residents
  • Write scientific papers
  • Serve on hospital committees
  • Give talks to community groups
  • Consult with other physicians
  • Perform administrative duties
  • Supervise laboratory personnel

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an accredited medical school
  • Completion of a 3-year residency in anatomic and clinical pathology
  • Board certification by the American Board of Pathology (ABP) in both anatomic and clinical pathology, or eligibility for ABP certification
  • Eligibility for medical licensure in the state of New York
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Fellowship training in one or more subspecialties of pathology
  • Research experience
  • Teaching experience
  • Leadership experience

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