Studies & Degrees in Pathology
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Pathology Study Programs
Are you considering a career working in the rewarding and challenging field of pathology, a field in which you’ll have the opportunity to explore the causes, consequences and potential preventative measures for certain diseases and illnesses? Are you aware of the various education requirements and degree options for those looking to find to work in this always-fascinating and ever-growing discipline? If not, the information provided below may prove quite useful. Here we will provide a brief definition of pathology and what it involves, along with some of the degree path options that may qualify you for a pathology career.
Pathology is a captivating and intriguing field of medicine, and while it’s certainly an ideal career path for those who enjoy the challenge of educated problem-solving, it’s not necessarily for the faint at heart. Pathologists are specialists who work with both the living and the deceased (the latter through autopsies), and are concerned with the origins, pathogenesis, and anatomical and practical consequences of disease, along with the prevention of disease and the direct and indirect effects of treatment. Pathology can involve diagnosis, treatment, observation, and understanding of the prognosis of diseases or medical condition in humans by means of morphologic, microscopic, chemical, microbiologic, or any other type of laboratory examination made on the patient or on any material obtained from the human body. In other words, these are the specialists the medical community turns to when the immediate cause of a patient’s symptoms is unknown.
Pathologists are medical doctors, and as such, they must go through the same type of education and training as any other type of doctor or physician, albeit with a sub-specialty in the field of pathology. This course of study and training begins with the pursuit of a four to five year undergraduate degree, in which students will specialize in some type of pre-medical scientific discipline (biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, etc). This is followed by an additional four years of medical school en route to earning an advanced medical degree with an emphasis in pathology. From there, promising doctors must complete a four to five-year residency in a hospital or other type of medical facility, working in a lab and with patients under the supervision of a senior pathologist. It’s an extremely lengthy process, but one that is absolutely necessary to ensure that only the most qualified candidates ascend to these very important positions.
There are, however, other classes of pathology degrees designed for those who want to assist pathologists in a laboratory setting, including the Master’s of Science degree in Laboratory Science and the Master’s of Science degree in Pathologists’ Assistant. Both of these programs, which are now offered by many colleges and universities throughout the world, span two to three years in duration, during which students will acquire the knowledge and research skills necessary to work in medical and other scientific laboratories, assisting pathologists with tasks that may include sample collection and analysis, data entry and management and other duties required by the pathologist in charge. To qualify for these programs students must possess a Bachelor of Science degree in a science-related field and have above average research, technical and communication skills. Graduates have the opportunity to seek immediate employment upon conclusion of the program, or use their M.S. degree as a stepping stone towards a PhD or Medical degree in pathology at some point in the future.