If you are a student in college studying medicine but haven’t quite made a firm decision about what your specialty should be, you might consider the cutting-edge field of pathology. Why? Because pathology offers a dizzying array of opportunities for medical professionals. While pursuing your medical studies, you will find that pathology spans over a myriad of different disciplines and can also be a lucrative path in your career.
From forensic pathology to cytopathology – this exciting and diverse field of medicine has the potential to enhance your personal growth beyond your wildest reckoning. Furthermore, the demand for qualified pathologies in all areas of medicine has skyrocketed in the last few years. And the job market for pathologists is only expected to increase. Read further about what it takes to be a pathologist, and what this stimulating career path can offer you.
What Pathology Is and The Two Main Branches
At its simplest, pathology is a branch of medicine that studies the cause, nature, and origin of diseases and disorders. Pathology is at the forefront of devising innovative treatments and solutions to combat disease, viruses, and other health disorders such as cancer. This field of study plays a crucial role in the development of vaccines and medical treatments for all manner of conditions.
There are two main types of pathology, clinical and anatomical. Clinical pathology explores diagnosis and cures for disease using laboratory equipment such as microscopes and centrifuges. A clinical pathologist works in a highly controlled environment where sterile testing is done. These facilities must operate under accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and should adhere to the lab CAP guide to make sure testing is in compliance and accurate results are determined.
Anatomical pathology is similar to clinical in that this field still executes demanding tests to find answers to medical disorders and diseases. The most common example of an anatomical pathologist is a medical examiner that performs an autopsy to determine the cause of death. An anatomical pathologist takes samples from the human body and conducts tests in order to find answers about the human condition.
What Are The Requirements To Be a Pathologist?
There is no exclusive educational degree for a pathologist per se. Rather, a pathologist is a medical doctor who chooses pathology as his or her specialty. As such, a pathologist must attain a medical doctor’s degree. This path usually starts with a student obtaining a bachelor’s degree. No major must be claimed at this time, but students interested in medicine and pathology typically take pre-med courses with a concentration in biology and microbiology during their bachelor’s education.
Pathologists are often referred to as the “doctor’s doctor” because pathologists must be medical doctors (MD or DO). They go through all the training medical doctors do including attending a residency program, internship, board certification, licensing, and ongoing training.
Who Would Enjoy a Pathology Career?
Of course, a love of medicine should be a priority for anyone considering a satisfying career in pathology. Also, if you have a curious mind and a genuine passion to help others heal, then you may make a great pathologist. People who work well in this medical discipline are those who have investigative propensities. In other words, they like to do intense research to hunt down solutions to health problems.
Furthermore, if you are detail-oriented and appreciate order in the workplace, pathology might be a satisfactory field. Pathologists are required to take copious and accurate notes and their jobs rely heavily upon research, testing, and data analysis. All this requires a meticulous mentality and a high standard for accuracy.
What Are The Benefits of Being a Pathologist?
The benefits of becoming a pathologist are many and varied. Firstly, you will never lack a job as long as you work with integrity and keep your medical credentials current. Pathology is such a diverse field, that jobs are plentiful throughout all disciplines of medicine. You can choose from dozens of different specialties and subspecialties. This affords pathologists the freedom and flexibility to make lateral moves in related yet different aspects of medical research.
For instance, you may start out your pathology career as a forensic pathologist. Over time, you may choose to switch gears into pediatric pathology or neuropathology. Because this field of medicine is so diverse and covers a broad territory in the healing sciences, pathology is a great career for those always learning and exploring different aspects of their professional life.
Furthermore, pathology can be a lucrative career. Currently, the average physician of pathology salary is over $250,000 a year. That salary can increase in time as more experience is gained in the field. Pathologists are typically hired by major medical facilities and these institutions usually provide excellent benefits such as insurance, retirement, and paid holidays.
Lastly, and perhaps the biggest benefit of being a pathologist is the opportunity to help humanity overcome illness. As a pathologist, you could be contributing to the cure for cancer, doing life-saving research, or discovering vaccines that heal people with crippling conditions. Pathology offers diversity and the opportunity to help mankind. So, if you’re seeking the satisfaction of helping your fellow humans and want a rewarding career you can be proud of, pathology might be the perfect path for you.