How do I Become a Clinical Pathologist?
To become a clinical pathologist in the United States, you need to have an extensive education. To start, you need to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in a life science, such as biology. If at all possible, you should enroll in a pre-med program while you are an undergraduate, so that you can be sure you are taking the proper courses for gaining admittance to medical school. If you want to become a clinical pathologist once you are finished with medical school, you need to be an M.D., or Medical Doctor, or obtain a PhD., or Doctor of Philosophy degree, in Pathology. You should also be board certified in the states in which you want to work, once you have completed school.
In order to be a good candidate for this type of work, you need to have exceptional communication skills. You must be proficient at writing, so that you can convey your thoughts properly when creating reports, letters, or emails. You should also have the ability to speak to others in a manner that is easily understood, particularly by those who are not medical professionals. In many jobs, you could be expected to make formal presentations on occasion, so it would be helpful if you are comfortable speaking to large groups of people.
If you want to become a clinical pathologist, you should have an aptitude for working in conditions that could be quite stressful. Excellent candidates for this type of job are those who work well under pressure, and have the ability to meet tight deadlines with ease. Great expectations may be placed upon you by your employer, so you need to have the type of personality that is flexible and easily adaptable to demands that may be continually changing. You may also be placed in charge of reviewing complaints about other physicians or testing. Some professionals within this field tend to feel a bit overwhelmed at times, simply due to the multitude of responsibilities placed upon them.
You should be computer literate in order to function well in this profession. For the most part, you will be required to enter a variety of different types of information into software systems that have been specially designed for medical professionals. If you are comfortable working with computers, you should not have any difficulties adapting to your work environment. To become a clinical pathologist and be successful, you may be responsible for supervising other workers, so having strong leadership skills is also beneficial.
Clinical pathologists do not do autopsies.
@JaneAir - Interesting. I have a friend who currently works in the medical field and she's interested in becoming a pathologist. She's not big on dealing with patients, so I think this would be a really good fit for her. Now she just has to go to medical school!
Reading through the article, it makes a lot of sense that pathologists have to be able to deal with stress. From my vast understanding of pathology (I watch crime shows on television sometimes) it seems like there's a time crunch for pathologists that are working on criminal cases. I know I wouldn't want to be responsible for letting bad guys go free because it took me too long to examine samples or I missed something. That does sound stressful!
I think working as a clinical pathologist would be a good choice for someone who is interested in medicine, but doesn't want to see patients. From what I understand, pathologists study stuff like tissue samples and do autopsies.
I think you would probably have to have a strong stomach to do this job, but you wouldn't have to be a people person. However, as the article said, you would have to be a good communicator. It seems like one of a pathologists main jobs besides figuring things out is sharing their findings with other people in the medical field or law enforcement.
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