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Pathology: A Career in Medicine Brochure

Available in Print, PDF, and Web Formats.
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Request your copy from:
Administrator/Managing Editor
Donna Stivers
Phone: (301) 634-7200
Fax: (301) 634-7990

Graduate Medical Education in Pathology

Medical school graduates in the United States and Canada need three to four years of accredited residency training to prepare for a career in pathology. There are accredited training programs in many hospitals throughout the United States and Canada, and many varied opportunities for subspecialty study after residency. During training, the resident becomes familiar with all activities of a pathology department.

Most pathology residents receive training in both anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP), although it is possible to train in only one. Specialty certification for the medical practice of pathology is the responsibility of the American Board of Pathology (ABP) in the United States, which offers primary specialty (AP and CP) and subspecialty examinations for certification. Four full years of approved training are required for AP/CP, and three years for AP or CP alone. A physician-scientist track (involving additional training) is also available for those residents interested in concentrating on medical research. Residency training in Canada is the responsibility of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Following residency training, candidates requesting certification must pass an objective written and practical examination. As in other medical disciplines, Board certification is not required for practice, but it is highly prized as evidence of professional competence. In both the United States and Canada, pathologists who have been board certified must continue to demonstrate competency throughout their careers and in the United States (except for those who were certified before 2006) must enter the Maintenance of Certification program of the American Board of Pathology.

Pathologists can be certified to practice in the following subspecialties in the United States:

  • Blood banking/transfusion medicine
  • Chemical pathology
  • Clinical Informatics (with the American Board of Preventive Medicine)
  • Cytopathology
  • Dermatopathology (with the American Board of Dermatology)
  • Forensic pathology
  • Hematopathology (Hematology)
  • Medical microbiology
  • Molecular genetic pathology (with the American Board of Medical Genetics)
  • Neuropathology
  • Pediatric pathology
Dr. Meera Hameed, Attending Pathologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, specializes in the fields of surgical pathology and the molecular biology of bone and soft tissue tumors, in the areas of clinical service, research, and teaching.