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Anatomical pathology technician

Alternative titles for this job include APT, mortuary technician, anatomical pathology technologist

Anatomical pathology technicians (APTs) help pathologists exam a body to work out the cause of death.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays at short notice

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Anatomical pathology technician

You can get into this job through an apprenticeship or a trainee position.


You could do a mortuary technician advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Other Routes

You'll need to complete a 2 year traineeship. Training and education in pathology combines learning on the job and in the classroom.

To begin with, you'll observe a pathologist in a mortuary to watch how it's done. Then you'll do some of the work yourself with the help of senior staff and pathologists.

You'll also attend classes for a level 3 diploma awarded by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH).

To become a trainee you'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs or equivalent at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science - usually biology
  • to be sensitive to the issues facing families dealing with the death of a loved one
  • an awareness and respect for different religious beliefs about death

More Information

Career tips

You might find it easier to apply for trainee positions if you have experience of record keeping or dealing with legal issues.

Professional and industry bodies

Once you have your diploma, you can apply to join the Royal Society of Public Health and the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an anatomical pathology technician from Health Careers and the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As part of your day-to-day duties you could:

  • make sure tools are clean and ready for use
  • keep accurate records
  • track property and samples taken from the deceased
  • work closely with other health professionals, funeral services staff and family members
  • help train other healthcare professionals

During an exam of a body, how much you'll help will depend on your experience.

You could:

  • take tissue samples
  • help remove organs
  • take samples for lab analysis
  • record the findings
  • help clean the body

Working environment

You could work at a mortuary.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could get a senior position and perform specialised techniques. You could work in specific areas such as forensic pathology.

You could also move into mortuary management.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Anatomical pathology technician right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to HE - Science

  • Provider: Harrow, Richmond & Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC)
  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: Twickenham

Access to HE: Science

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Ipswich

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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