How to become a pathologist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
There are 2 main routes to become a pathologist:
- medical doctor route
- clinical scientist route
For the medical doctor route you'll need to do:
- 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 to medicine programme.
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.
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.
For the clinical scientist route you'll need:
- 3 or 4 years for a degree or master's in a pure or applied science subject like biology, chemistry, clinical or biomedical science
- a 3 year, work-based Scientist Training Programme leading to a master's degree
- 5 year Higher Specialist Scientist Training following the pathology specialty
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. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has more information about becoming a vet.