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Laboratory Services


Career data updated last on 9/9/2014
Pathologist Pathologists are physicians who receive four or more years of training after medical school in the use of laboratory tests to diagnose and treat disease. They interpret the results of these examinations and tests-information that is important for the patient's diagnosis and recovery. The pathologist is usually responsible for the administration of the pathology laboratory and also researches ways to improve disease detection, prevention, cure or treatment. They play a vital role on the patient's primary health care team. The pathologist and the patient's other doctors consult on which tests to order, test results, and appropriate treatments. Because of the pathologist's role, he or she is sometimes referred to as "the doctor's doctor."
Salary $106.25/hourly- $221,000/year
Significant Points The medical laboratory is one of the "first stops" in preventive medicine, which puts pathology among the most cost effective health care services. Since Americans are living longer than previous generations, forecasters predict that preventive medicine will become even more important, for it provides the best chance of containing spending on the nation's health care.
Specializations Pathologists can specialize in just about every category of disease, including:
  • Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Cytopathology
  • Hematology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Surgical Pathology
  • Immunopathology
  • Medical microbiology
  • Molecular genetic pathology
  • Neuropathology
  • Pediatric pathology
Work Environment Most pathologists work in a hospital setting, usually in charge of one or several medical laboratories. Medical schools also attract many pathologists to carry out teaching and research activities. Pathologists also work for independent laboratories and with major medical companies. Forensic pathologists typically work for government agencies to determine the facts about unattended, unexplained and violent deaths. They may also work in the community, in independent laboratories, or in private offices, clinics, and other health care facilities.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including biology and chemistry, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History.
Academic Requirements A pathologist is required to complete college and four years of medical school. Medical school graduates then need 4 to 5 years of residency specialty training in order to be eligible for the American Board of Pathology exams. College students preparing for medical school should take either a "pre-med" track or include substantial course work in mathematics and science (including biology, chemistry and physics). See the "Physician" career for more information.


Colorado State University
Masters Degree Master's
The Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science
Certificate Degree Certificate
Doctoral Degree Doctoral
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Doctoral Degree Doctoral

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