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Job Description

Pathologists are doctors who diagnose disease by examining cells and tissue samples, and sometimes through performing autopsies.
 

Entry Requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject

To become a pathologist you'll need a:

  • 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • 2-year general training foundation course
  • 5 or 6-year specialist training programme in pathology

If you do not have qualifications in science, you may be able to take a 6-year degree course in medicine, which includes a 1-year pre-medical or foundation year.

If you already have a degree in a science subject, minimum grade upper second class, you could take a fast-track 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you may be asked to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to check your suitability for a career in medicine.

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.

Required Skills

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department.
 
With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles.
 
You could also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.

National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE.  Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.

Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.

Starting Salary

£27,146 to £105,042

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