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Pathoblasts - Pathology Interest Group

This group was founded in answer to increasing interest in the field of pathology. More and more, students are realizing what an exciting, diverse specialty pathology is and choosing this as their career. Many medical students and physicians remember their pathology course in medical school, but are not sure what a practicing pathologist actually does. It is the goal of this group to increase awareness, increase interest in the field and to provide a structured forum to gain information about pathology as a career choice.

Why Pathology?

  • Pathology is an excellent career choice for future physicians who have a strong interest in the diagnostic aspect of medicine, done primarily by morphologic and laboratory techniques.
  • Pathologists need to have a broad knowledge of disease process. They use this knowledge to evaluate clinical presentation, laboratory tests, and microscopic morphology for the purpose of diagnosing disease.
  • Similar to radiologists, pathologists spend a considerable amount of their time discussing the diagnosis of disease of individual patients with other physicians. Pathologists are frequently referred to as "Doctor's Doctors."
  • Pathologists practice evidence based medicine, especially with respect to laboratory diagnosis.
  • Many pathologists pursue an academic career. Pathology is very appealing to future physicians who are interested in teaching and research. More than in any other academic specialty, pathologists can teach and devote considerable time to research and teaching. This is because the laboratory focus of clinical responsibilities creates flexibility in the pathologists’ work schedule.
  • Although Pathology has limited direct patient contact, the pathologist does need to maintain a broad knowledge of the clinical aspects of disease. A Pathologist is heavily involved in discussion of patients with individual clinicians, and is a major participant in patient centered conferences such as Tumor Boards and Morbidity and Mortality conferences.
  • Pathologists direct the clinical diagnostic laboratories, and are involved in implementation of emerging technologies, including molecular diagnostic techniques.
  • Pathology salaries compare very favorably with other clinical subspecialties.

What can you do with a career in Pathology?

There are two main subdivisions within the field of pathology: Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology. You can do your residency training in one (3 year program) or both combined (4 year program). After residency, you can do a fellowship in many different areas.

Anatomic Pathology has multiple subspecialties (you can choose to do a fellowship, usually 1 year, in any of the following areas to further specialize):

  • Surgical Pathology – you can practice general surgical pathology and/or subspecialize in any organ system
  • Neuropathology (2 year fellowship)
  • Dermatopathology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Cytopathology
  • Informatics

Clinical Pathology is a large field and involves anything with a lab (fellowship training is available for each):

  • Hematopatholoy
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Immunopathology
  • Molecular Pathology
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Transfusion Medicine
  • Informatics

What's the Job Market for Pathology? Pathology: A Career in Medicine

There are plenty of jobs for qualified trainees in both private practice and academic pathology. The market is especially good in the Mid-West including Iowa. Iowa trained pathologists have had no difficulty finding jobs all over the country.

Additional Information about a Career in Pathology


Pathology Externship (A one year Post Sophomore Clinical Fellowship)

Research Opportunities

Residency Program

Pathology Courses

Other Interesting Links: