Pathologists’ assistants provide anatomical and pathology services under the supervision of a pathologist (a physician - either an MD or DO). They perform a variety of tasks including gross examination of surgical pathology specimens, frozen section preparation, and performance of postmortem exams.
Specific admission requirements vary per pathology assistant program. You should consult with pathology assistant schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements
Suggested academic preparation:
- Bachelor's degree- A majority of pathology assistant programs require that applicants earn a bachelor's degree along with specific prerequisite courses before starting the professional program.
- Programs that do not require a bachelor's degree will require a specific number of undergraduate credit hours for admission. Check with each program for information on required undergraduate preparation.
- Competitive academic record- GPA in all courses, and especially in science courses, will be part of the admission decision.
- Major in anything
We recommend you meet with an advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework.
MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Some pathologists' assistant schools require the MCAT exam, while others require the GRE, either of which is usually taken the latter half of junior year. Check with each program of interest for specific requirements.
There are currently 13 pathologists' assistant master's programs in the U.S. There is no centralized application service, so you must apply to each program of interest individually.
Pathologists' Assistant (PATHA)
Similar to a physicians' assistant (PA), pathologists' assistant help pathologists with tasks such as gross examination and description of surgical specimens, assistance with intraoperative consultations, autopsies, laboratory management, data compilation and reporting, research, and inventory and lab maintenance. Pathologists' assistant can work in private practice, hospitals, laboratories, medical schools, medical examiners offices, and morgues. This is a 2 year master's degree program which includes classroom training (in medicine and pathology), as well as clinical training followed by a licensing exam (ASCP certification examination).