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Become A Pathology Assistant

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Working As A Pathology 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 Pathology Assistant Do At Northwell Health

* Assists in the training of surgical pathology and autopsy techniques and procedures to residents and fellows.
* Assists in training of surgical pathology specimens inclusive of gross dissection, reporting, and submission for histologic processing to pathology residents and fellows.
* Assists in training pathology residents and fellows with frozen section procedures and special procedures.
* Assists in training pathology residents and fellows with accurate block selection and appropriate sampling of lesions and pertinent normal/negative findings.
* Assists in training pathology residents and fellows with selecting appropriate ancillary testing and special autopsy procedures.
* Assists in training pathology residents and fellows with correlation between preliminary and final autopsy diagnosis.
* Educates Residents/Fellows utilizing departmental case presentations and conferences.
* Performs professional duties associated with the preparation and performance of autopsy pathology and post-mortem examination.
* Assists in the performance of an autopsy examination by ascertaining proper legal authorization.
* Obtains and reviews the patient’s chart and other clinical data and studies.
* Initiates procedures when resolving problems related to proper clearance and consent for autopsy.
* Confers with the pathologists to identify special techniques or procedures that are required (immunopathology, electron microscopy).
* Participates in post-mortem prosection, evisceration and subsequent dissection.
* Obtains specimens for biological and toxicologic analysis.
* Performs specialized procedures including frozen sections, histological procedures and special procedures.
* Prepares tissue for frozen sections utilizing histologic procedures.
* Participates in conduct of frozen section examinations.
* Selects and preserves tissue for special studies to include immunopathology, electron microscopy, special stains and flow cytometry.
* Prepares and processes frozen section tissue in a timely manner consistent with CAP standards.
* Prepares surgical pathology specimens.
* Ensures appropriate specimen accessioning, pertinent clinical information and studies.
* Dissects surgical specimens while describing the gross anatomic features and ensuring proper submission for histologic processing.
* Obtains and submits specimens for additional ancillary procedures (immunostaining, flow cytometry).
* Dissects and processes frozen section specimens for evaluation by an Attending Pathologist.
* Assists Pathologists with eviscerations and obtaining appropriate sections for microscopic examination.
* Photographs all pertinent gross specimens and microscopic slides.
* Serves as liaison between the laboratory and staff physicians, lab sections and department heads.
* Collaborates with hospital physicians, lab sections and department heads on pertinent matters in order to maintain quality service.
* Assists in the conduct of quality assurance within Pathology.
* Monitors safety compliance.
* Monitors quality/assurance activities and records.
* Performs related duties, as required

What Does A Pathology Assistant Do At Kaiser Permanente

* Obtains biological specimens for analysis; and, upon direction of the pathologist performs special procedures such as coronary artery perfusion studies, tumor triage, and faxitron (x-ray).
* Under the supervision of a pathologist, prepare human surgical specimens for gross description and dissection, including but not limited to: describes gross anatomic features, dissects surgical specimens and prepares tissue for histological examination.
* Assures appropriate specimen accessioning, obtains the clinical history and photographs all pertinent specimens and microscopic slides as directed by a pathologist(s).
* Obtains the patient medical chart and other pertinent data for review with the attending pathologist.
* Under the direction of a pathologist, performs postmortem examinations which may include: external examinations, in situ organ inspections, evisceration, dissection and dictation or recording of data such as organ weights, presence of body fluids and gross anatomic findings.
* Selects and prepares gross tissue section for frozen section analysis.
* Photographs body, organs, and other pertinent specimens.
* Gathers and organizes clinical information and data for completion of the autopsy report.
* Ascertains proper legal authorization for autopsy as directed by a pathologist(s).
* Notifies physician in charge, funeral home and all other authorities prior to beginning the dissections, coordinates special requests for specimen sampling (e.g., organ transplantation team, research, etc.) Releases the body to the correct mortuary following proper restoration and indicating any biohazards - such as contagious disease or radioactive implant that may be present.
* May perform duties relating to the administrative maintenance of surgical pathology protocols, reports/data including filing reports, protocols, photographic and microscopic slides and assures completion of coding.
* May supervise the work of laboratory techs and assistants.
* Confers with the pathologists to identify the special techniques and procedures that will be necessary (e.g., histochemical, immunoflurescense, toxicological, viral, or electron microscopic studies, cultures, smears, etc.) and notifies all personnel involved.
* Responsible for assuring proper maintenance of equipment, provides adequate supplies, and maintains cleanliness of the surgical pathology suite.
* Assists in the organization and coordination of anatomic pathology conferences.
* Kaiser Permanente conducts compensation reviews of positions on a routine basis.
* At any time, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to reevaluate and change job descriptions, or to change such positions from salaried to hourly pay status.
* Such changes are generally implemented only after notice is given to affected employees

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How To Become A Pathology 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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Pathology Assistant jobs

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Pathology Assistant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Portuguese

  • Amharic

  • Tagalog

  • Lingala

  • Chinese

  • Filipino

  • Japanese

  • Korean

  • Italian

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Pathology Assistant

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Pathology Assistant Education

Pathology Assistant

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Real Pathology Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant Staff Pathology Ochsner Clinic Foundation New Orleans, LA Aug 28, 2013 $100,000
Assistant Staff Pathology Ochsner Clinic Foundation New Orleans, LA Aug 15, 2012 $100,000
Anatomic Pathology Assistant St. Alexius Medical Center Bismarck, ND Dec 23, 2014 $86,715
Anatomic Pathology Assistant-Certified St. Alexius Medical Center Bismarck, ND Jun 01, 2013 $86,715
Pathology Assistant Fletcher Allen Health Care, Inc. Burlington, VT Jul 24, 2012 $84,531
Anatomic Pathology Assistant-Certified St. Alexius Medical Center Bismarck, ND May 31, 2010 $78,000
Pathology Assistant Duke University and Medical Center Durham, NC Jan 27, 2016 $72,420
Pathology Assistant The University of Toledo Toledo, OH Aug 04, 2011 $71,400
Pathology Assistant Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA Mar 22, 2011 $69,500
Pathology Assistant University of Minnesota Physicians Minneapolis, MN Aug 13, 2012 $65,021 -

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Top Skills for A Pathology Assistant


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Top Pathology Assistant Skills

  1. Laboratory Operations
  2. Tissue Samples
  3. Assist Pathologist
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identify abnormalities and remove appropriate tissue samples for microscopic examination and diagnosis.
  • Assist pathologists with grossing of surgical pathological specimens, as well as assisting pathologists with frozen sections and staining of slides.
  • Dissected surgical specimens and prepare tissues for histological processing.
  • Assisted Pathologists with Stat Frozen Sections Staining and Cover slipping Slides.
  • Gross description of pathology and cytology specimens.

Top Pathology Assistant Employers

Pathology Assistant Videos

Beginning an autopsy

Top 20 Health Professions (with incomes of over $70,000 per year)