Health Occupations
& Technology

Pathologists’ Assistant

To be a successful Pathologists’ Assistant you should…

  • have integrity
  • be able to apply a large body of medical and scientific knowledge to continually varying situations
  • be able to recognize your unique role in medical care
  • be constantly aware of the limitations imposed on the profession

What will my job be like?

Pathologists’ assistants make and record measurements, gross features, and type and extent of disease. They then dissect the specimen and select portions to be examined microscopically by the pathologist.

In autopsy pathology, pathologists’ assistants perform post-mortem examinations under the supervision of a pathologist. They perform the external examination, evisceration, and dissection of the body, followed by recording of measurements, weights, and other findings, culminating in the dictation of a gross description.

Pathologists’ assistants work with pathologists to create lists of pathologic findings and correlate the findings with the clinical history. Finally, they select material for microscopic examination by the pathologist.

Where could I work?

A majority of pathologists’ assistants work in community hospitals, with others working in government hospitals, reference laboratories, the medical examiners system, and academic centers, such as medical schools or university hospitals.

What is the average annual salary?


What is the future of this career?

The career outlook for pathologists’ assistants is strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies pathologists’ assistants within the physicians’ assistants category, and projects employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 12,200 openings for physician assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

What type of education and/or training do I need?

A four-year degree in a biological science. Laboratory experience is a plus.

Where can I get the education and/or training?

  • Quinnipiac University, Hamden

Do I need a license or certification for this career?

Licensure is not required in the state of Connecticut.

Where can I get more information?

American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants (AAPA)
2345 Rice Street, Suite 220
St. Paul, MN   55113
(800) 532-AAPA

American Society of Clinical Pathology
33 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL   60603
(800) 267-2727