What Pathologists Do and How to Become One

What Pathologists Do and How to Become One

What Pathologists Do and How to Become One

You may want to consider a career in pathology or diagnostic dermatopathology in Pittsburgh, PA if you are curious about the nature and causes of diseases. Pathology can be simply defined as the study of diseases. Detailed and extensive knowledge of medicine is required to be a pathologist. Pathology links medicine and science and acts as a foundation for all aspects of patient care, from implementing diagnostic tests and treatments to preventing disease and using new medical technologies.

A doctor of pathology is called a pathologist and is specifically trained in disease diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of body tissue and fluid disorders. Pathology covers a vast scope.

What do Pathologists do?

Pathologists monitor and diagnose diseases through various means that include laboratory tests and microscopic examination. A pathologist is well-versed in the history and likely trajectory of diseases. Pathologists can recognize that patients will have specific symptoms now or in the future if a cell or other bodily structure is altered in a particular way. A Pathologist often studies health issues like tuberculosis, anemia, and cancer and can also determine a patient's cause of death.

Because a pathologist assists a primary physician in making or confirming a diagnosis and acts as a second line of critical care provisions, they are sometimes called a doctor's doctor. A Pathologist uses various exams, procedures, and tests, which can include the following:

  • Blood sugar tests and blood investigations.
  • Pap smears.
  • Autopsies
  • Fine needle aspirations
  • Biopsies

Pathologists are deeply involved in research to devise new treatments or advance the medical field in fighting viruses, infections, and diseases. Significant advances in processes like blood transfusion, treatment of certain inherited conditions, and the development of vaccines are due to pathologists' work. Pathologists tend to be active in academic circles and often participate in publications or conferences dedicated to advancing medical knowledge and therapeutic treatment options.

Types of Pathologists

Clinical pathology and anatomic pathology are two broad categories that pathology is divided into. A clinical pathologist uses analysis of bodily tissues and fluids in a laboratory setting to study diseases. For example, they often spend their days studying samples for indications of tumors, liver malfunction, and other disorders like heart disease.

An anatomic pathologist studies diseases through the immunologic, microscopic, chemical, gross, and molecular examination of human organs, bodies, and tissues. They are also known for examining samples and seeing patients in person.

The path to being a pathologist.

There is technically no such thing as a pathology degree. Education for pathology begins in becoming a medical doctor through graduating from a four-year medical school. After graduating from medical school, a three-year residency in pathology is required for the doctor. The American Board of Pathology is tasked with certifying candidates qualified to become pathologists. A Pathologist may also undergo additional training to sub-specialize in a specific branch of pathology like diagnostic dermatopathology in Pittsburgh, PA.

It can be beneficial to speak to a career counselor if you are interested in a pathology career to help guide you on the path to success.



440 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238


Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(800) 786-3054 - Toll Free
(412) 968-9266 - Local
(412) 968-5673 - Fax



To Top