Pathologists are classified within The Realistic Theme Code Career category of The Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. The Strong Interest Inventory® identifies, assesses, and applies individuals’ interests and preferences to match individuals with careers that will be particularly fulfilling and interesting for them. This assessment was first released in 1927 and has been refined since then to become a powerful tool, helping individuals find their best-fit career. Realistic careers generally center around finding interesting or creative solutions to clearly defined problems, often using a very specific set of skills. Individuals who prefer Realistic careers often enjoy working with their hands and understanding how and why things work.
Pathologists study the nature, cause, and development of diseases. They examine samples from animals, plants, or other organic matter to identify abnormalities that may signify a disease. This examination and analysis may include techniques like cytology, cytopathology, immunology, and molecular biology, among others, or techniques like urine analyses, hormonal assays, or polymerase chain reactions (PCRs). Once they analyze and interpret their results identifying the pathogens, they write reports or give presentations summarizing their findings and disseminate them among interested parties. As they do so, they also attend talks or read articles written by other researchers, to ensure that they always remain up-to-date on cutting edge work in their field. Pathologists also work closely with other medical professionals, including physicians and lab technicians, to determine the optimal treatment or test interpretation. They also run workshops to educate medical professionals in cytotechnology, medical technology, and histotechnology. Some Pathologists manage medical laboratories, develop new tests and instruments to improve diagnoses, and develop better procedures for diagnoses.
Pathologists use many different kinds of medical and chemical tools and technologies, including lab equipment like analytical balances, benchtop centrifuges, dropping pipettes, electrophoresis instruments, histology tissue cassettes, flasks, petri dishes, and vials. In addition, they also use medical equipment like biopsy needles, calorimeters, blood culture equipment, photon microscopes, and rapid amplification of complementary deoxyribonucleic acid ends (RACE) technology products. To gather and process specimens, they may use blood agar plates or other specialty plates for bacteria, lumbar puncture needles, bone marrow puncture needles, swab transports, urinalysis analyzers, or tissue processors. Safety equipment, such as protective clothing, eye washes, facial shields, is also of the utmost importance. Additionally, many different kinds of software are necessary to process findings and manage laboratory logistics, including accounting software (e.g., Cerner Millennium ProFit, TELCOR Billing Information System), Information retrieval or search software, medical software (e.g., MEDITECH Anatomical pathology, Wyndgate Technologies ElDorado Donor), and more.
Successful Pathologists have a strong foundation in medicine, dentistry, biology, and chemistry, as well as computers and electronics, since they use a lot of high-tech equipment in their labs. They solve complex problems in a timely fashion, and think critically about technical issues. They monitor and coordinate sometimes large-scale operations efficiently, and communicate their needs and findings quickly and cohesively to team members. Those who have more interpersonal roles also should be strong communicators and have an understanding of learning strategies and educational techniques. Reasoning and time management are important for all Pathologists, though those who spend more time in labs may need higher degrees of finger dexterity, visual color discrimination, and hand control than those who do not. Most Pathologists also hold a Doctoral degree and/or post-Doctoral training.
The average salary for Pathologists nationwide is over $187,000 annually. In California, Texas, New York, and Florida, the highest paid pathologists can make even more. At the low end, Pathologists salary can be near $60,000 in more populated states, though in low-populated states such as Wyoming, even the lowest paid pathologists earn over $165,000 annually. Employment rates for Pathologists nationwide are expected to increase nearly 15% before 2024, though some states, such as Texas, Georgia, and Florida, are nearly double that – their anticipated increases are expected to be up to 30% before 2024.
Below are some employment trends for Pathologists:
- Median Salary: $99.28 hourly, $206,500 annually
- Employment: 433,700 employees
- Projected growth (2018-2028): Faster than average (7% to 10%)
- Projected job openings (2018-2028): 16,500
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org