How do I Become a Pathologist?

A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing disease examining the body or taking tissue samples from it. It takes years of study and a medical degree to become a pathologist. In many countries, becoming a pathologist also necessitates certification.

Clinical pathology and anatomical pathology are two types of pathology. A clinical pathologist uses lab tests on body fluids and tissues to diagnose disease. An anatomical pathologist examines organs, tissues, and whole bodies to diagnose disease. A large part of pathology is the diagnosis of disease based on microscopic examination of surgical specimens. A surgical pathologist, a type of anatomical pathologist, would be responsible for this work.

At least two academic degrees are required of pathologists: a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree. The first step toward becoming a pathologist is to graduate from a four-year college or university after high school. Students from virtually any undergraduate major can apply to medical school, but they must take biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English courses at the very least. Admission to medical school also requires a strong performance on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Extracurricular activities, leadership, community service, research, and patient exposure are important criteria for medical school admissions decisions, in addition to a high grade point average and high MCAT scores.

A pathologist can be a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). A DO degree is a diploma in osteopathy in some countries. Although DO training in the United States is very similar to MD training, education in other countries may differ.

Medical school is a four-year program that includes two years of basic science and two years of clinical training. Anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, histology, immunology, microbiology, pathology, and other topics are covered in basic science courses. Students rotate through clinical clerkships in their third and fourth years, where they gain hands-on experience with patients. Students choose which clerkships they will complete, and a student aspiring to be a pathologist would complete a pathology clerkship in addition to several others.

The next step in becoming a pathologist is to complete medical residency training. A residency is a type of advanced medical education in a specific field. Residents work under the supervision of a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine. Pathology residencies are among the longer residencies available to doctors, lasting four to five years. An internal medicine residency, on the other hand, lasts three years.

After completing a residency, you can apply for board certification. Pathologists must be licensed a governing body in order to practice their profession. The American Board of Pathology certifies them in the United States. A pathologist may pursue additional training in a sub-field of pathology after obtaining board certification. This training can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on the subspecialty.