Pathologist Career Plan

Pathologists are doctors who investigate the causes for diseases. In order to become a pathologist, you’ll need to attend medical school and complete a residency.

Become a Pathologist

Pathology Resources…

  1. Do well academically in high school. Take college prep and honors courses. Focus on chemistry, biology, and math.

  2. Meanwhile, get some experience in the health care field. There are camps for students who are considering studying medicine. You can also do biomedical internships as early as high school if you’re an exceptional student. At some point, you may want to request a copy of The Road to Becoming a Biomedical Physician Scientist in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

  3. Apply to undergraduate programs. You don’t have to enroll as a pre-med student. You can pick a major that interests you – for, example, biochemistry – but get your prerequisites in. You may get a chance to take one or more classes in pathology as well.

  4. Take advantage of undergraduate opportunities. Aim for a GPA of 3.5 (though you may get in with less). Meanwhile, volunteer in a health care setting. Continue to seek out internships or research opportunities. Do well on the MCAT exam.

  5. Apply to MD programs that are accredited by the Liaison on Medical Education or DO programs that are accredited by the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association.

  6. Decide if you are interested in clinical or anatomical pathology. Participate in the Match to find a residency. You will go through an interview process and both you and your potential residencies will rank order each other.
    You may want to pick up the PDF Roadmap to Residency: From Application to the Match and Beyond 2nd Edition, available from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

  7. If you want to pursue a subspecialty, for example, neuropathology or molecular genetic pathology, you will complete a one year fellowship. You will need at least two years of residency before your fellowship.

  8. Seek board certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

  9. Seek out positions as a board certified pathologist. You may consult the ASCP job board.

Personality Traits: Pathologists are good problem solvers and critical thinkers. They have people skills and stamina.