What Can You Do With a PhD in Pathology?

May 31, 2020

Those who earn a PhD in pathology will be prepared to spend a large amount of time conducting independent research, working within a laboratory, and studying the effects of diseases. Recent graduates will have the education and skills necessary to secure many jobs, including medical scientists and postsecondary education administrators.

Careers and Salaries for Those with a PhD in Pathology

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Speech-Language Pathologists $79,120 27%
Medical Scientists $88,790 8%
Natural Sciences Managers $129,100 6%
Microbiologists $75,650 5%
Postsecondary Education Administrators $95,410 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Details for Those with a PhD in Pathology

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists conduct evaluations of patients to determine issues related to speech like swallowing abilities and communication. They give suggestions on treatment and can also assist those with speech issues by teaching them how to make sounds and maintain fluency. Additionally, these pathologists provide patients and their family members with information related to any and all issues that have been uncovered during evaluation. Those with a PhD in pathology will be able to quickly identify developmental issues and have the educational background necessary to offer up effective treatments.

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists study human diseases and develop treatment options by examining scientific data and medical samples. They work with health departments, physicians, and industry personnel to develop new programs designed to improve the health outcomes of patients. Furthermore, they determine how the use and amount of drugs can best fight some of these diseases. Those with a PhD in pathology will have a good understanding of how various medical diseases and illnesses form.

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers work closely with fellow scientists to ensure they are meeting quality control standards and are conducting effective research. These managers gather information on a given project and then use their background work in the laboratory to then determine what equipment and personnel will be needed to complete the project. They keep detailed records of all work that has been completed and present this information to upper level management when necessary. Through earning a PhD, graduates will have a good understanding of how laboratory work is conducted and they will have the hands-on experience necessary to assist fellow scientists in the operation of all scientific equipment.


Microbiologists can find work in agriculture and healthcare research, as well as in the field studying the environment. Within the healthcare field they will help to develop new medical equipment designed to aid in the treatment of diseases or faster detection of harmful microorganisms. Those who work in agriculture will conduct research designed to garner a better understanding of how to combat the effects of plant diseases and the spread of plant damaging insects. Securing a PhD will allow graduates the chance to work for universities and conduct their own independent research.

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators can oversee and manage educational departments related to admissions, student affairs, and registration, among others. While individuals may be assigned to a particular department at larger universities, those that work at smaller universities may oversee and manage all departments. Depending on the position, these administrators may also attend meetings where a representative for the university must be present. Though most universities only require a master's, having a PhD will open the door for promotion to higher levels of management.

A PhD in pathology gives graduates the opportunity to use the skills they have learned to improve the effectiveness of healthcare and stop the spread of disease. They can help fellow scientists and researchers discover the origins of diseases and come up with new ways to cure or combat some of the world's most deadly pathogens.

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