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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 carry out post-mortems in mortuaries.

Average salary (a year)

£19,917 Starter


£31,533 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 an anatomical pathology technician

You can get into this job through:

  • applying for a trainee position

Other Routes

You'll need to complete a 2-year traineeship. Training and education in anatomical pathology combines academic learning with work-based learning.

At first you'll be based in a mortuary and start your training with a short period observing the wide range of mortuary procedures.

This is followed by working under the supervision of senior staff and pathologists. You'll also attend teaching sessions on a level 3 diploma course awarded by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH).

To become a trainee you'll usually need:

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

More Information

Career tips

Experience of record keeping or dealing with legal issues might be useful.

Professional and industry bodies

Once you have completed the diploma, including practical assessments and a written exam, you can apply for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Public Health.

You can also join the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology (AAPT), which represents and promotes the profession.

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 instruments are clean, sterile and ready for use
  • receive bodies into the mortuary
  • place the deceased into cold storage units
  • keep accurate records
  • track property and samples taken from the deceased
  • work closely with other health professionals, funeral services staff and relatives of the deceased
  • help to train other healthcare professionals

During a post-mortem, your level of involvement will depend on your experience. You could:

  • take tissue samples
  • assist in removal of organs from a body
  • take samples for lab analysis
  • record the findings of a post-mortem exam
  • help to reconstruct and clean the body ready for storage or release to an undertaker

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 and relevant qualifications, you could become a senior anatomical pathology technician and perform specialised techniques, or work in specific areas such as forensic pathology.

You could also move into mortuary management.

Current opportunities

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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

  • Start date: 05 September 2022
  • Location: Leamington Spa

Access to Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Cambridge

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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