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What Does it Take to Be a Pathologist?

Career Description Diagnose presence and stage of diseases using laboratory techniques and patient specimens. Study the nature, cause, and development of diseases. May perform autopsies.

What Do Pathologists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Testify in depositions or trials as an expert witness.
  • Consult with physicians about ordering and interpreting tests or providing treatments.
  • Identify the etiology, pathogenesis, morphological change, and clinical significance of diseases.
  • Analyze and interpret results from tests such as microbial or parasite tests, urine analyses, hormonal assays, fine needle aspirations (FNAs), and polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).
  • Review cases by analyzing autopsies, laboratory findings, or case investigation reports.
  • Educate physicians, students, and other personnel in medical laboratory professions such as medical technology, cytotechnology, or histotechnology.

What a Pathologist Should Know

These are the skills Pathologists say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

  • Molecular Genetic Pathologist
  • Ophthalmic Pathologist
  • Cytopathologist
  • Associate Pathologist
  • Ocular Pathologist

Job Opportunities for Pathologists

There were about 372,400 jobs for Pathologist in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 42,300 new jobs for Pathologist by 2026. There will be an estimated 14,300 positions for Pathologist per year.

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The states with the most job growth for Pathologist are Arizona, Alaska, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Illinois. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Pathologist Average Salary

The salary for Pathologists ranges between about $60,280 and $208,000 a year.

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Pathologists who work in Alaska, Arizona, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Pathologists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $183,510
Alaska $244,220
Arizona $229,090
Arkansas $165,290
California $208,740
Colorado $219,310
Connecticut $221,870
Delaware $216,600
District of Columbia $182,910
Florida $205,020
Georgia $235,060
Hawaii $228,470
Idaho $241,670
Illinois $183,780
Indiana $237,470
Iowa $219,300
Kansas $191,430
Kentucky $223,770
Louisiana $183,920
Maine $257,550
Maryland $196,210
Massachusetts $207,990
Michigan $181,760
Minnesota $245,040
Mississippi $174,340
Missouri $203,440
Montana $247,260
Nebraska $161,880
Nevada $227,500
New Hampshire $275,840
New Jersey $208,820
New Mexico $229,100
New York $171,060
North Carolina $198,040
North Dakota $266,510
Ohio $212,160
Oklahoma $155,130
Oregon $202,750
Pennsylvania $195,810
Rhode Island $209,580
South Carolina $185,210
South Dakota $227,710
Tennessee $231,960
Texas $199,370
Utah $218,210
Vermont $176,520
Virginia $199,080
Washington $239,080
West Virginia $222,270
Wisconsin $239,610
Wyoming $234,610

What Tools & Technology do Pathologists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Pathologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Laboratory information system LIS
  • Sunquest Information Systems Sunquest Laboratory
  • STARLIMS
  • CPSI CPSI System
  • Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS
  • Healthvision TDSynergy LIS
  • Clinical Software Solutions CLIN1 Suite
  • Comp Pro Med Polytech
  • Custom Software Systems StarLab
  • Elekta Impac Software IntelliLab
  • EpicLab Laboratory Information System
  • Fletcher-Flora Health Care Systems FFlex eSuite LIS
  • Fletcher-Flora Health Care Systems LabPak LIS
  • GE Healthcare Centricity Laboratory
  • HEX Laboratory Systems LAB/HEX
  • ClinLab LIS
  • Iatric Systems MobiLab
  • LabSoft LabNet

Becoming a Pathologist

Are there Pathologists education requirements?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Pathologists Sector

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Pathologists work in the following industries:

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Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Pathologist may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Pathologist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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