Pathology Assistant Licensing and Certification

Become a Pathologist Assistant

Pathologist Assistant Resources…

Will you need state licensing to practice as a pathology assistant? Probably not, but it depends on your geographical location. Licensing requirements have been under scrutiny in recent years, so you’ll want to stay informed.

The American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants reports that Nevada is currently the only state with laws on the books specifically requiring licensing for this profession. Several other states have proposed legislation. A number of other states have laws requiring licensing of other laboratory personnel. However, according to AAPA, these laws pre-date the emergence of the pathology assistant role. They do not make licensing feasible as they don’t make provisions for an exam that corresponds to the PA role. (AAPA reports that whenever the issue has been brought up, it has been determined that the laws don’t apply.)

In many cases, all that you’ll need is a degree. (There are federal regulations governing the education of those who perform complex testing, but the educational mandates are set below what you will get from a degree program in pathology assisting.) If you ever wish to become a pathologist, you will need and medical degree and a license to practice medicine.

Your employer may require that you be certified through the American Society for Clinical Pathology. To take the certification exam, you’ll need to have a baccalaureate degree plus a certificate from an NAACLS-accredited PA program. Be prepared, but don’t be intimidated by the exam. The ASCP reports a 92% pass rate for 2010 – with an impressive 99% rate for first time test takers from CAAHEP/ NAACLS accredited schools.