Pathologist

Pathologists are doctors who diagnose disease by examining cells and tissue samples, and sometimes through performing autopsies.

Average salary (a year)

£26,350 Starter

to

£102,500 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become a Pathologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

To become a pathologist you'll need a:

  • 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • 2-year general training foundation course
  • 5 or 6-year specialist training programme in pathology

If you do not have qualifications in science, you may be able to take a 6-year degree course in medicine, which includes a 1-year pre-medical or foundation year.

If you already have a degree in a science subject, minimum grade upper second class, you could take a fast-track 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you may be asked to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to check your suitability for a career in medicine.

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject

More information

Other routes

To become a veterinary pathologist, you'll need to train as a vet. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has more information about becoming a vet.

More information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about a career in pathology from The Royal College of Pathologists.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • examining the results of blood tests, smear tests and tissue removal
  • explaining test results and giving advice on further medical assessments
  • treating diseases and making sure blood transfusions are safe
  • developing vaccines against infectious diseases and inherited conditions
  • researching and developing new tests and treatments
  • organising work in laboratories and supervising other laboratory staff
  • attending meetings with other health professionals to discuss the treatment of individual patients

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department.
 
With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles.
 
You could also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Pathologist 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 Science Level 3

  • Provider: Kensington and Chelsea College
  • Start date: 10 September 2019
  • Location: London

Pre-Access to Science & Nursing

  • Provider: COLLEGE OF WEST ANGLIA
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: King's Lynn

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