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Alternative titles for this job include

Pathologists work in hospitals and laboratories on different areas of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Average salary (a year)

£35,000 Starter


£69,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become 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.

Science degrees

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.

Entry tests

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:

Entry requirements

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

More Information

Other Routes

To become a veterinary pathologist, you'll need to train as a vet

More Information


Further information

You can find out more about a career in pathology from the Royal College of Pathologists and Health Careers.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of biology
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • 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

Depending on your area, as a pathologist you could:

  • examine, explain and advice on the results of blood tests, smear tests and tissue removal
  • research and develop new tests and treatments
  • treat diseases and develop vaccines against diseases and conditions
  • organise work in laboratories and supervise staff
  • discuss the treatment of individual patients with other health professionals

You can find out more about what you'll do as a pathologist from the Royal College of Pathologists. 

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • lead a team or manage a department
  • apply for senior or consultant roles if you're on the General Medical Council's Specialist Register
  • move into teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals

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 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 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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