Clinical pathology is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue homogenates or extracts using the tools of chemistry, microbiology, hematology and molecular pathology. This specialty requires a medical residency.
Clinical pathologists often direct all of the special divisions of the laboratory, which may include the blood bank, clinical chemistry and biology, toxicology, hematology, immunology and serology, and microbiology. Clinical pathology also involves maintenance of laboratory information systems, research, and quality control.
According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, “The practice of pathology is most often conducted in community hospitals or in academic medical centers, where patient care, diagnostic services, and research go hand in hand. Creation of new knowledge is the lifeblood of pathology and many academic pathologists devote significant time in their career to research.”
The world’s largest professional membership organization for clinical pathologists and laboratory professionals, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), says, “Pathologists are problem-solvers, fascinated by the process of disease and eager to unlock medical mysteries, like AIDS and diabetes, using the tools of laboratory medicine and its sophisticated instruments and methods. Pathologists make it possible to apply scientific advances to improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnosis and treatment.”
Becoming a pathologist entails one of the lengthiest education and training tracks of all physicians. Requirements include four years of undergraduate study, plus four years of medical school, plus a minimum of four to five years of post-graduate training in pathology residency. The annual salary for clinical pathologists ranges from $183,000 to $360,000.
The American Board of Pathology certifies clinical pathologists, and recognizes the following secondary specialties of clinical pathology:
- Chemical pathology, also called clinical chemistry
- Blood banking / transfusion medicine
- Clinical microbiology
- Molecular genetics pathology
Tools of clinical pathology include macroscopic examination, microscopes, microscopical examination, analyzers, centrifuges and cultures.
The ASCP has more than 100,000 members worldwide, and “provides excellence in education, certification and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists and laboratory professionals across the globe.”
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CEO SUMMARY: Pathologists seeking jobs will find that a more competitive job market is pushing salaries up over $300,000 per year on average. In addition, most new jobs come with a hiring bonus and funds for relocation of as much as $12,000 and for continuing medical education of $3,500. …
JAMA Study: Pathology field loses almost 18% Since 2007
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