Pathologist assistant programs prepare students to provide pathologists with medical and clerical support, which can include securing medical records and test results, examining specimens, conducting autopsies and documenting medical information.
These programs are commonly offered as master's degrees or graduate certificate programs. Prospective students will need a bachelor's degree related to the sciences of completion of specific prerequisite coursework in order to be admitted.
Pathology Assistant Certification and Diploma Program
Since these programs are designed to prepare students to assist pathologists in multiple fields, course topics often cover all the main pathology subfields. Students are also required to complete clinical rotations that allow them to learn from experienced pathologists in different medical settings. Required coursework for the pathologist's assistant program may include:
- Anatomical pathology
- Forensic photography
- Surgical pathology
- Diagnostic technologies
- Autopsy pathology
Possible Career Options
Graduating from this program may only prepare individuals for careers as pathology assistants, but workers in this field still have multiple career options. For example, assistants can specialize in different types of pathology. Assistants can also choose to work in different medical settings, such as:
- Autopsy facilities
- Medical teaching institutions
- Clinical pathology laboratories
- Medical examiner departments
Continuing Education Information
Pathologist assistants can pursue voluntary certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree and completed a recognized pathology assistant program. The certification exam includes multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as anatomy, pathology techniques, laboratory operations and pathology fundamentals.
To renew certification every three years, pathologist assistants must complete continuing education coursework in areas such as medical pathology quality control, medical management strategies and anatomic pathology.
Students in pathologist assistant programs complete coursework and clinical rotations. Graduates have a choice of several settings in which to begin their career, including hospitals, autopsy facilities and clinical pathology laboratories.