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Information about Pathology

Pathology is a medical specialty that provides the scientific foundation for medical practice. The pathologist works with all other medical specialties, using the tools of laboratory medicine to provide information essential to problem solving in clinical practice.

Many pathologists are generalists concerned with all facets of disease that can be examined in the laboratory; others specialize. Anatomic pathologists use information gathered from microscopic examination and concentrate on abnormal morphology; clinical pathologists obtain and interpret clinical laboratory data as needed for diagnosis and patient care. There are pathology specialties concerned with every category of disease. Graduate training in many of these specialties is described in this Directory under “Training in Specialized Areas of Pathology. ” Pathologists can be certified to practice in the following subspecialties in the United States:

  • Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
  • Chemical Pathology
  • Cytopathology
  • Dermatopathology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Hematology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Molecular Genetic Pathology
  • Neuropathology
  • Pediatric Pathology

Today’s employment outlook for the newly graduated pathologist is very promising. The following 2011 career statistics were obtained from the American Medical Association FREIDA Online (www.ama-assn.org). The average salary for a resident was $48,524, and the average number of weeks of vacation was 3.3. Salaries for fellowships in specialized areas of pathology varied with the subspecialty and were at least $40,000. In 2011, of the 602 residents or fellows who completed training in anatomic and/or clinical pathology, 53.9 % of residents were female and 37.4% were international medical graduates. In 2011, 86.3% of residents completing a residency program decided to pursue additional training in specialized fellowships, 5.6% began a career in academic medicine (in pathology), 3.8% began practicing in the United States (61.9% of these went into group practice), 2.3% went into the military, and the remainder left the United States.

Data from the College of American Pathologists for the year 2011 show that on average, pathologists worked 51.4 hours per week (compared to 55 hours for all other specialties combined). Currently, approximately half of pathologists work in group practice, and the remainder work in solo practice, in a university medical school or hospital, in independent laboratories, in a multi-specialty group, and as coroners or medical examiners. More than half of pathology group practices have five or more pathologists (and one third of those in group practice work in larger groups of seven or more). Salaries for practicing pathologists vary with years of experience, type of practice and practice site. Further details can be obtained at here. (Residency Recruitment Tool).

The best sources of additional information about the personal and professional satisfaction of being a pathologist are pathologists in hospitals, medical schools, and private practice. For more information about residency and fellowship training, check the Directory of Graduate Medical Education Programs, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s annual source book of all accredited programs. Reference copies are located in medical schools and medical libraries, and the information is also available online at www.acgme.org.

In this Directory, there is information about how physicians can be certified in pathology in the United States, provided by the American Board of Pathology. All the information in this Directory is available online, in searchable format by region, state, and institution, at www.pathologytraining.org.

Useful sources of information on the Web include:
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

American Association of Medical Colleges

American Board of Pathology

American Medical Association

American Society for Clinical Pathology

American Society for Investigative Pathology

Association of Pathology Chairs

College of American Pathologists

Intersociety Council for Pathology Information

United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology