Pathology is a branch of medicine that studies body fluids and tissue structures, and their relationship with disease processes. To become a pathology consultant or a pathologist requires a medical degree. A college or university graduate who majors in science or who has enough credits in life sciences such as chemistry, biochemistry, and biology is qualified to enroll in medical school. Studying in medical school would usually take four years. After graduation, passing the medical board examination is the final step in becoming a certified medical doctor.
Being a certified medical doctor gives one many options in choosing a specialization. When the new doctor wants to become a pathology consultant, he needs to train as a resident pathologist in an accredited institution. He would be under the supervision of one or several pathology specialists who will guide him during this residency period, which takes about three years.
The field of pathology is divided into two subspecialties: Clinical pathology and anatomical pathology. Anatomical pathology involves studying disease processes through examination of organs and tissues in the body. Clinical pathology usually entails examination of tissues and bodily fluids such as saliva, semen, urine, and blood. A resident pathologist will be exposed to both sections of pathology in the laboratory during his residency. He will learn the skills on how to analyze tissues and body fluids, and make accurate diagnosis of diseases.
After finishing the residency training to become a pathology consultant, one may choose to pursue a fellowship in pathology. This usually last for two more years. A licensing examination is then given to qualified doctors who finished all the necessary requirements. Passing this examination is the last step to become a pathology consultant.
As a pathology consultant, a doctor may choose among many work options. He may work in private laboratories that are not affiliated with any hospitals or clinics. Pathology consultants can also work in several hospital-owned laboratories or clinics. Some pathology consultants run their owned laboratories where they hire their own staff. As a business, a laboratory is usually profitable because many patients make appointments to have lab work done everyday.
A pathology consultant is not limited to doing research and diagnostic tests in the laboratory. He can also be part of an indispensable team of forensic experts. His job is to guide authorities and help determine the origin and interaction of forensic evidence to a crime.