Pathologists are physicians who provide key laboratory diagnostic services. By examining tissues, blood or other body fluids, pathologists assist other physicians in the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, blood disorders and infections. They use a wide variety of laboratory analytical techniques (for example, light and electron microscopy, analytical chemistry, culturing micro-organisms and cells, molecular genetics) to investigate the causes, progress and consequences of diseases, and determine the nature of diseases. They provide diagnoses to patients' surgeons and physicians. Often, attending physicians' treatment decisions are based on pathologists' recommendations.
Pathologists may specialize in general pathology or subspecialties such as: anatomical pathology, forensic pathology, hematopathology, medical biochemistry, medical microbiology, and neuropathology.
An Exciting Field of Work
In general, Pathologists:
- Supervise or perform laboratory diagnostic and screening tests
- Examine tissue biopsy samples and diagnose surgical specimens
- Advise other health care workers on the application and usefulness of newly available tests
- Conduct autopsies to determine the causes of illness and death
- Conduct research
- Teach medical students and pathologists-in-training
- Educate trainees and practicing physicians regarding the use of laboratory services
Personal Characteristics / Skills
- Emotional strength and maturity
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- A keen interest in scientific work
- Capacity and eagerness to learn new skills and information
- An interest in teaching others about new developments
Pathologists should enjoy finding solutions to problems and using equipment and instruments to perform tasks requiring precision and directing the work of others.
Education and Training
A Medical Doctor (MD) degree followed by approximately four or five years of specialization in laboratory medicine is required.
Education program offered in New Brunswick
Medical Education programs are offered in New Brunswick by the following educational institutions:
- Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) – English program
- Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick – French program
Length of Study / Training
12.0 - 13.0 years
Licence and certification
To practice in New Brunswick, Pathologists must be licensed with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick.
Helpful High School Courses
Employment and Common Working Conditions
Pathologists work in a variety of settings, such as:
- Government Departments
- Hospitals and Universities
- Private sector
Pathologist’s hours of work may vary depending on the settings. Some Pathologist may work shift including evenings and weekend. Pathologists usually work as part of a team with other pathologists, scientists and medical laboratory technologists. They may be exposed to infectious agents in a controlled setting.
Employment Prospects - very GOOD
With our aging population, it is anticipated that there will continue to be a high demand for Pathologists.