How to become a pathologist
You can get into this job through a university course.
You can take either a medical doctor route or clinical scientist route to become a pathologist.
Medical doctor route
To become a pathologist through the medical doctor route, you'll need to complete:
- a degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council which takes 5 years
- a foundation course of general training which takes 2 years
- a specialist training programme in pathology which can take between 5 to 6 years
There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most universities will expect you to have done some paid or voluntary work experience in healthcare.
If you already have a first class or 2:1 (upper second class) science degree, you could take the graduate entry route into medicine instead. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates, but you might need to a do a foundation year.
When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).
They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.
Clinical scientist route
To become a pathologist through the clinical scientist route, you'll need to complete:
- a degree or master's in a science subject like biology, chemistry, clinical or biomedical science which takes 3 to 4 years
- the Scientist Training Programme which is work based, takes 3 years and leads to a master's degree
- the pathology speciality of the Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme which takes 5 years
You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
To become a veterinary pathologist, you'll need to train as a vet.
- you'll need to register with the General Medical Council
You can find out more about a career in pathology from the Royal College of Pathologists and Health Careers.