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Become A Pathologist Assistant

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Working As A Pathologist Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $30,590

    Average Salary

What Does A Pathologist Assistant Do At Rochester Regional Health

* Surgical Pathology
* Under the supervision of staff pathologists, PA performs accurate and timely description and dissection of a wide variety of surgical specimens, including selection of appropriate tissues for microscopic study and gross diagnosis of selected surgical specimens in accordance with all departmental policies and regulatory standards.
* Intraoperative Consultations
* PA assists pathologists with intraoperative consultations, including frozen sections, touch preps and harvesting tissue for other purposes
* Department operations
* PA works with other PA's and department staff to promote and support a positive team environment, continuously assess work processes to identify opportunities to improve patient safety and workflow and maintain inspection readiness

What Does A Pathologist Assistant Do At Ascension Health

* Performs gross description and dissection of human tissue surgical specimens for microscopic examination, holding and transport/shipment, ensuring proper identification and accessioning.
* Prepares specimens for cytological studies and maintains surgical and medical cytology reports.
* Assists with fine needle aspirations performed in Radiology and physician offices.
* Prepares cases for and assists with the coordination of cancer conferences.
* May assess and/or process frozen section laboratory specimens according to established histology laboratory policies.
* May perform, under the direction of a pathologist, postmortem prosection

What Does A Pathologist Assistant Do At UPMC

* Adhere to all safety standards, policies and procedures related to the handling and disposal of specimens.
* Comply with standard precaution procedures.
* Assist manager or Supervisor with administrative functions as they relate to the Pathologists' Assistant portion of the department including assisting with development of quality assurance monitors, quality control monitors, data gathering and preparations of QA report, input for performance reviews, budget preparation and monitoring, regulatory compliance and continuing education and training.
* Competent at operating the Laboratory Information System and Medical Archival Retrieval System relative to the functions of the pathology assistants team.
* Continually provides and participates in on-the-job training conferences, seminars and continuing education to ensure competence and awareness of most recent technology and advances in the field.
* Participate in competency evaluation of pathologist's assistant team members for skill and task assessment.
* Ensure that tests are prepared properly at all stages from specimen collection through results reporting, and performs additional special handling of the specimens if necessary or requested (i.e. radiography, photography, special fixation, cultures and tissue procurement).
* Examine and prepare surgical pathology cases for microscopic evaluation by providing gross description, dissection and sections of each case as defined by the Surgical Pathology Manual while maintaining accurate records of all activities.
* Oversee the proper handling, storage and disposition of all surgical and autopsy tissue while adhering to the regulatory and compliance standards regarding biohazard and safety.
* Participate in and performs frozen sections, intraoperative consultations, autopsies and prenatal procedures.
* File and retrieve surgical and autopsy materials and maintains accurate records of all such activities.
* Perform duties according to the policies and procedures of the Pathology Department and Hospital including compliance and confidentiality.
* Remain abreast of policies, regulations, guidelines, techniques, procedures and methodologies in anatomic and autopsy pathology.
* Perform special projects such as research protocols when required.
* Perform the proper operation, repair and replacement, and preventative maintenance of area equipment and tools.
* Maintains record logs for the equipment.
* Provide independent technical leadership, consulting with the Manager or Supervisor on unusual and complex cases, such as oncology cases where the tumor has spread into other organs, cancers that extend into surrounding structures, autopsies on complicated cases, and initial intraoperative examination and tissue banking for uncommon specimens of interest to research such as wide section melanomas and thoracic biopsies.
* Provides ongoing training and orientation to the pathology assistant team members

What Does A Pathologist Assistant Do At Oregon Health & Science University

* Contribute to the operational excellence of the gross room laboratory by coordinating workflow assessments, process improvement and quality assurance activities and the writing and maintenance of related policy and procedure documents
* Facilitate effective scheduling and work assignments to support meeting gross room operational and educational goals
* Manage tissue handling and most other activities in the gross pathology facilities in Surgical Pathology
* Assume varied responsibilities for gross dissection, description and case management
* Maintain tissue banking and databases, coordinate with study coordinators, operating rooms and Knight BioLibrary
* Direct maintenance and technical operations of frozen sections areas
* Provide instruction, training and supervision to residents, student fellows, and PA students in gross dissection
* Serve on institutional committees, and in the activities of professional societies that will enhance the goals and image of the Department and institutio

What Does A Pathologist Assistant Do At HCA, Hospital Corporation of America

* Responsible for the organization of and efficiency of workflow processes in the frozen section and gross examination areas.
* Triage specimen received from surgery; dictate gross findings on selected specimen using appropriate terminology; refer tissue sections for microscopic review by Pathologist or Resident.
* Select and identify tissue for microscopic study; determine proper fixative solutions in which tissue will be maintained.
* Perform specialized procedures such as frozen sections and decalcification; maintain and coordinate specimen and records for specialized procedures using appropriate protocols; submit request for special histological procedures and special stains when appropriate.
* Maintain records of surgical pathology specimen dissections and dictation; assist in the compilation of reports for surgical pathology; label and store gross tissue specimen.
* Photograph specimen samples as appropriate for use in instruction and documentation.
* Perform photo microscopy on cases considered for interdepartmental conferences or for teaching purposes; maintain complete and accurate records of all gross and microscopic photographs.

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How To Become A Pathologist Assistant

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.


Medical assistants typically graduate from postsecondary education programs. Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states, employers may prefer to hire assistants who have completed these programs.

Programs for medical assisting are available from community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and universities and take about 1 year to complete. These programs usually lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree. All programs have classroom and laboratory portions that include lessons in anatomy and medical terminology.

Some medical assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their duties on the job. High school students interested in a career as a medical assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Medical assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses. They may be required to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes.

Detail oriented. Medical assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information. Physicians and insurance companies rely on accurate records.

Interpersonal skills. Medical assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel, such as physicians. They often interact with patients who may be in pain or in distress, so they need to be able to act in a calm and professional manner.

Technical skills. Medical assistants should be able to use basic clinical instruments so they can take a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.


Medical assistants who do not have postsecondary education learn their skills through on-the-job training. Physicians or other medical assistants may teach a new assistant medical terminology, the names of the instruments, how to do daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other tasks that help keep an office running smoothly. Medical assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records (EHRs) and how to record patient information. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical assistants are not required to be certified in most states. However, employers prefer to hire certified assistants.

Several organizations offer certification. An applicant must pass an exam and have taken one of several routes to be eligible for each certification. These routes include graduation from an accredited program and work experience, among others. In most cases, an applicant must be at least 18 years old before applying for certification.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredits five certifications for medical assistants:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association

Some states may require assistants to graduate from an accredited program, pass an exam, or both, in order to practice. Contact the state board of medicine for more information.

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Pathologist Assistant jobs

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Pathologist Assistant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Khmer

  • Chinese

  • Arabic

  • Lingala

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Pathologist Assistant

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Pathologist Assistant Education

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Real Pathologist Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Pathologist Assistant H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institut Tampa, FL Dec 21, 2013 $101,504
Pathologist Assistant H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institut Tampa, FL Dec 21, 2010 $96,658
SR. Pathologists' Assistant UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Pittsburgh, PA Jul 22, 2013 $93,915
Pathologist Assistant Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY Jul 15, 2015 $87,692
Pathologist Assistant The University of Iowa Iowa City, IA Aug 01, 2011 $79,000
Pathologist Assistant Carolina Pathology Associates, LLP Greenwood, SC Nov 16, 2009 $75,000
Pathologist Assistant University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Apr 01, 2011 $67,154
Pathologist Assistant University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Nov 01, 2009 $65,262
Pathologist Assistant The University of Toledo Toledo, OH Aug 01, 2014 $62,338
Pathologist Assistant Siparadigm LLC Brookfield, NJ Sep 21, 2016 $60,000

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Top Skills for A Pathologist Assistant


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Top Pathologist Assistant Skills

  1. Pathology Residents
  2. Laboratory Equipment
  3. Frozen Sections
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist attending Pathologists in teaching grossing skills to pathology residents.
  • Maintained laboratory equipment, and supported Department of Anatomical Pathology.
  • Assisted Pathologists' and laboratory assistants with basic laboratory duties and frozen sections.
  • Trained new pathology residents on all laboratory procedures.
  • Grossed various surgical pathology specimens from multiple outpatient facilities; primarily dermatological, gynecological and gastrointestinal specimens.

Top Pathologist Assistant Employers

Pathologist Assistant Videos

Beginning an autopsy

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