Pathologist Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Pathologist technicians perform a variety of duties. While not as highly educated as other medical professionals, pathologist technicians receive adequate histology and laboratory procedures training.

If you’re interested in working as a pathologist technician, you can learn more about their job description and career info in this blog post. 

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Pathologist Technician Job Description

Pathologist technicians perform tests on specimens to determine if they are normal or abnormal. They also perform various laboratory tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, and tissue biopsies.

What Are The Duties Of A Pathologist Technician?

As a pathologist technician, you’ll be tasked with assisting the Pathologist in the examination of tissue samples. You take tissue samples from patients and prepare them for examination by the Pathologist. The process involves several steps:

  • Taking a biopsy or scraping from an area of skin on their body, which can be done at any time during surgery or as part of another procedure; 
  • Preparing slides for viewing under microscopes;
  • Staining sections of diseased tissue/tissues from biopsies so they can be seen clearly at higher magnifications than otherwise possible without staining; 
  • Using special stains such as fluorescent dyes to highlight specific cells within the sample being examined using microscope slides with coverslips attached so each slide will stay clean during testing procedures.

You’ll also be responsible for taking tissue samples from various organs and removing fluid or blood from some types of samples to prepare them for examination by the Pathologist.

Courses and Education Requirements Of A Pathologist Technician

To become a pathologist technician, you will need to complete certification courses. The American Board of Pathology (ABP) has programs for both residents and non-residents.

The ABP requires that students take two years of pre-clinical study and two years of clinical experience before applying for the certification exam. Once you pass the exam, you’ll receive your board certification in pathology technology or medical laboratory assistant (MLA).

At this time, there are no specific educational requirements for becoming a pathologist technician.

However, most employers prefer candidates with at least an associate’s degree in science or health care, such as biology or chemistry, from an accredited college/university because it shows their commitment to furthering their knowledge base.

Pathologist technicians usually have a bachelor’s degree in a medical-related field and may also obtain certification from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).

The NAME certification is not mandatory, but it does give pathologist technicians an edge when applying for jobs.

Salary And Job Outlook Information Of A Pathologist Technician

As a pathologist technician, you will have an opportunity to work in several settings. The average salary for this job is $46K.

The money you earn as a pathologist technician depends on several factors: your experience and education level, location, and industry sector. If you’re just starting out or moving into this field for the first time, check out our list of top-paying careers below:

  • Pathologist Technician;
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist;
  • Radiologic Technologist;
  • Medical Transcriptionist;
  • Registered Nurse (RN);
  • Pharmacy Technician. 

Where Can A Pathologist Technician Work?

Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and medical research facilities employ pathologist technicians, and some also work in forensic laboratories. In addition to their jobs as pathologists’ assistants, they can help with autopsies on corpses collected during an investigation or autopsy performed by another physician.

Pathologist Technicians can be found working in government agencies as well. These include coroners’ offices and medical examiners’ offices.

What Are The Skills Of A Pathologist Technician?

As a pathologist technician, you will be expected to have the following skills:

  • Understanding of medical terminology.
  • Knowledge of laboratory procedures.
  • Knowledge of laboratory instruments.
  • Knowledge of quality control procedures and methods for ensuring that standards are maintained in your workplace (e.g., proficiency testing).

You should also understand how to work with a team and thrive under pressure; this is important because it’s often difficult for technicians who don’t know how to manage their workloads as well as they should!

You should have knowledge of clinical laboratory procedures and the ability to perform various tests. You should also be able to communicate effectively with other team members and patients, and their families.

What Are The Benefits Of A Pathologist Technician?

Several benefits come with becoming a Pathologist Technician. Such benefits include:

  • Job security: As a pathologist technician, you will be working in a growing field that offers great job security. You can expect to have opportunities for advancement within your organization and the potential to work with other professionals willing to learn more about the field.
  • Work-life balance: A busy schedule isn’t always ideal for everyone, but for those who like it that way or need something else in their lives (such as an interest outside of work), this could be an exciting option! The flexibility offered by being able to set your own hours means that if you want time off during working hours or during weekends and holidays, then this may be perfect for you.
  • Opportunity for advancement: As a pathologist technician, you will have the chance to advance in your career. There are many opportunities for growth within this field, and it’s likely that as time goes on, you will be able to move up within your organization. 
  • Work-life balance: A busy schedule isn’t always ideal for everyone, but for those who like it that way or need something else in their lives (such as an interest outside of work), this could be an exciting option. The flexibility offered by being able to set your own hours means that if you want time off during working hours or during weekends and holidays, then this may be perfect for you.

Pathologist Technician Certification And Licensing

A pathologist technician certification is required for anyone who wants to work in this field. The certification process is lengthy and requires a significant amount of education, training, and experience in order to complete it successfully.

The first step toward obtaining your license as a pathologist technician involves passing an exam administered by the American Board of Pathology, also known as ABP or the Certification Board of Pathology Technicians (CBPT). The tests are given over multiple days at various testing centers around the country. You can find out more about these exams here at https://www.abpwebportal/exam-selection. 

If you cannot find a position with a pathologist, consider becoming an independent contractor. You can work for various institutions or labs and provide your services as needed, allowing you more flexibility in determining when and where you work.

When you succeed in the exam, you must take additional continuing education courses and obtain a certain amount of practical experience to get certified.

What Are The Challenges Of A Pathologist Technician?

As a pathologist technician, you will work in an environment that is not always suitable for your professional development. The lack of opportunities and advancement can be frustrating, especially if you want to move up the ladder or be recognized for your work. 

You may also feel underappreciated by coworkers who do not recognize what a valuable asset they are to the department because they do not see any value in training other technicians.

Read Also: What Are The Responsibilities Of A DNA Analyst?

Pathologist Technician Training And Experience

Pathologist technicians perform basic laboratory tests like cytology, histopathology, hematology, urinalysis, and urine culture. The pathologist technician may also be responsible for performing more complex tests, such as viral culture or biochemical analysis. In some cases, these technicians may be able to issue death certificates or perform autopsies on bodies after another pathologist has performed an autopsy.

Pathologists can train their own assistants through classes offered by the American Board of Pathology or other organizations that offer certifications for this field.

However, it’s not uncommon for companies to hire certified assistants directly from within their own ranks, especially if they’re looking for someone with experience working with high-ranking individuals from other industries, such as medicine or law enforcement agencies like police departments where there could be conflicts between different professionals who have jurisdiction over different types of crime scenes/victims.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of The Pathologist?

The Pathologist will diagnose the disease using laboratory techniques and patient specimens. He or she will also study the nature, cause, and development of diseases and may perform autopsies.

2. What Makes A Good Pathologist?

To pay meticulous attention to detail and produce highly accurate work even under pressure. Effective verbal and written communication skills. To be confident with technology and systems/processes.

3. What Is A Clinical Pathology Test?

Pathology tests include blood tests and tests of urine, feces, and body tissues. A pathologist processes the results of blood and pathology tests and looks for abnormalities that may indicate diseases such as cancer and other chronic diseases or health risks such as prediabetes.

4. What Are The 5 Typical Duties Of A Pathologist?

Pathologists examine cells and tissue samples to diagnose disease. Basic job duties listed on a sample pathologist resume include:
Examining body fluids.
Performing toxicology tests.
Identifying allergies.
Analyzing the tolerability of transplanted organs.
Supervising laboratory personnel.
Researching new tests and treatments.

5. What Are The 4 Types Of Pathology?

The American Osteopathic Board of Pathology also recognizes four primary specialties: anatomic pathology, Dermatopathology, forensic pathology, and laboratory medicine.

6. What Are The Daily Activities Of A Pathologist?

Designing potential treatment options based on research and tests. Writing pathology reports detailing specimens tested, test results, and final diagnosis.

7. What Are The 4 Aspects Of Pathology?

Pathology emphasizes four aspects of the disease process. These are the cause (etiology), the mechanism of development (pathogenesis), the alterations of structure and forms (morphology), and functional alterations (pathophysiology).

8. What Are The 3 Areas Of Pathology?

There are three main subtypes of pathology: anatomic, clinical, and molecular.

9. What Are The Three Types Of Pathology?

The three main and broad subtypes of pathology are anatomical pathologies, clinical pathology & molecular pathology.

10. What Is An Example Of Pathology?

Typical examples include sputum, cervical smear, and gastric lavage. Forensic pathology involves the dissection of a corpse for the cause of death using a process called an autopsy, and Dermatopathology deals with the study of skin diseases.


Pathologist technicians play an important role in the medical field by providing valuable services and expertise that can help doctors work more efficiently and effectively. You’ll find that this career path offers many benefits, including high salaries and job security.

If you are interested in pursuing a pathologist technician career, then consider taking courses at a community college or vocational school before enrolling at a university or medical school program.

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