College of American Pathologists

  Pathology as a Career


Updated March 6, 2006

From the American Society for Investigative Pathology’s “Pathology as a Career in Medicine”

Pathology is the medical specialty that provides a scientific foundation for medical practice. A pathologist functions in three broad areas: as an investigator, as a teacher, and as a diagnostician.

Pathologists in hospital and clinical laboratories practice as consultant physicians, developing and applying knowledge of tissue and laboratory analyses to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of individual patients.

As teachers, they impart this knowledge of disease to their medical colleagues, to trainees at all levels, and to medical students.

As scientists, they use the tools of laboratory science in clinical studies, disease models, and other experimental systems, to advance the understanding and treatment of disease.

Pathology has a special appeal to those who enjoy solving disease-related problems, using technologies based upon fundamental sciences ranging from biophysics to molecular genetics, and including tools from the more traditional disciplines of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and microbiology.

Pathology information for students and others

American Board of Pathology
Pathology Myths and Truths
The Intersociety Committee on Pathology Information
Pathology as a Career in Medicine

For additional information, please contact the manager of resident and young physician services at


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