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Schools for Aspiring Forensic Pathology Assistants: How to Choose

Becoming a forensic pathologists' assistant requires a graduate-level degree, such as a Pathologists' Assistant Master of Science or Master of Health Science. There are a small number of these programs in the U.S. Read on for more information about schools for prospective forensic pathologists' assistants.

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According to the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants (AAPA), there are nine accredited Pathologists' Assistant Master of Science or Master of Health Science programs and one accredited PA Bachelor of Science program in the U.S. (www.pathologistsassistants.org). The accrediting body for these programs is the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

10 Schools with Pathologists' Assistants Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer pathologists' assistant programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition** (2015-2016)
Drexel University - California Sacramento, CA 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $31,239
Drexel University - Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $31,239
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $47,590
Indiana University Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate tuition $8,136; Out-of-state Graduate tuition $22,985
Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $24,128
Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $17,190
Rosalind Franklin University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Master's Graduate tuition $32,069
University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate tuition $12,944; Out-of-state Graduate tuition $28,328
Wayne State University Detroit, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate tuition $11,814; Undergraduate tuition Out-of-state $25,254
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate tuition $8,568; Out-of-state Graduate tuition $22,140

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Below are some aspects to consider before selecting a school.

  • Since there is no specific forensic pathologists' assistant degree, students should look for a program that has coursework that focuses on forensic pathology.
  • It can be at a student's advantage to select a school whose faculty has a strong professional history in forensic science or a related field.
  • There are only ten schools offering bachelor's or master's degrees in this field, and they include public and private universities.
  • Admission into a master's program requires a bachelor's degree, and some schools have specific GPA and course requirements that must be fulfilled to be eligible to apply.

Pathologists' Assistant Master's Degree

The Pathologists' Assistant Master of Science or Master of Health Science is a 2-year program that places a heavy emphasis on biological, physiological and anatomical sciences related specifically to the human body. Coursework is primarily focused on these fields, as well as autopsy and forensic procedures. These latter two courses should be of primary concern for the aspiring forensic pathologist assistant. Some programs offer research opportunities for students as well.

A limited number of public and private universities offer pathologists' assistants programs. Most pathologists' assistants programs are offered at the master's level, and students should ensure they complete a bachelor's degree program with any required prerequisites before applying.

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