Does the study of human body during autopsies intrigue you? If so, than have you ever considered starting a career as a Pathology Assistant?
Here’s a quick reference guide to help you understand all you need to know to become one.
Duties and Responsibilities
A Pathology Assistant is a highly trained health professional who provides anatomic pathology services under the supervision and guidance of a pathologist. Some of his/her main responsibilities include:
- Dealing with families and law enforcement
- Preparing and analyzing human tissue surgical specimens
- Preparing postmortem examinations
- Preparing bodies for being released to the funeral homes
- Taking photographs and preparing autopsy reports
- Teaching various courses related to his field, such as human anatomy, physiology, histology, gross pathology, microscopic photography, etc
- Training newly qualified pathologists
- Performing a number of managerial and/or administrative duties, such as filing reports, managing budgets, coding and billing, supervising employees, etc
- Conducting on-site examinations for any specimens
- Maintaining lab equipment
In order to qualify for this job, you must first graduate with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Although you also have the option to go for a Master’s degree, a bachelor’s will also suffice. Apart from these basic qualifications, you will also be expected to write a fellowship exam and seek internship or on-job training in order to become a certified Pathology Assistant.
Usually, most of those who choose this line of work are individuals who are already working in the healthcare field, and are trying to avail a second degree. Most of these people are initially trained as clinical lab technologist, autopsy technicians, histo-technologist or hospital corpsman.
Once you complete your training, you are required to join the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants as a student, an affiliate or a fellow.
Apart from obtaining the right education and training, you must also possess the following skills:
- Innovative thinking
- The ability to pay attention to details
- Excellent problem solving skills
- Excellent communication skills (written and oral)
- The ability to visualize complex procedures
- The ability to work under stress or for long hours
Job Outlook and Salary
Working as a Pathology Assistant, you can easily get a job within a community hospital, public or government hospital, reference laboratories, academic centers or even medical schools.
As far as the remuneration package is concerned, the average salary ranges from $60,000 to $90,000 a year, depending upon your qualification, experience and working conditions.
Moreover, with further education, you can also become a pathologist, a quality control technician, a senior supervisor or a technical medical writer.
Being a Pathology Assistant is definitely a promising career with a lot of potential growth; all it takes is some serious hard work and determination.