How to Become a Pathologist

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Pathologists are doctors who analyze symptoms, blood and tissue samples to find the cause of illness or death. To become a pathologist means that you will study causes of diseases and how they spread. There are specialties within the field of pathology.

  • Get a strong foundation in high school. Take advanced courses in math, science, biology and chemistry. Physics, calculus and psychology are important also.

  • Volunteer at a hospital or clinic and gain exposure to the medical field. Most pathologists choose a niche and work in either community hospitals, private clinics or laboratories.

  • Prepare for years of higher-level education. To become a pathologist, you must have a medical degree which means 4 years of medical school plus another 4 years of on-the-job training are necessary, depending on the area you specialize in.

  • Develop strong communication skills. Take writing classes, speech and public relations courses. You must be able to listen carefully and communicate well. Pathology requires gathering detailed information, analyzing to find answers and communicating your findings clearly.

  • Work well as a team-player with other doctors. General practitioners as well as patients will come to you with symptoms and mysteries to be solved.

  • Discover the wide range of possibilities open to you if you become a pathologist. You can be a consultant to physicians and patients or a director of a laboratory. You can specialize in research or become a professor of pathology.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pathology offers flexibility within the medical professions and usually gives more time for a personal life.

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