A Career in Pathology is a career path that serves as a bridge between medicine and science. Generally, pathologists are medical doctors who are proficient in carrying out scientific testing. These medical doctors specialise in the study of diseases. They use a variety of techniques, such as microscopy, molecular biology, and immunohistochemistry, to identify and characterize abnormalities in cells and tissues. Pathologists work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, laboratories, and research institutions, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans and monitor disease progression.


Pursuing a career in Pathology can be a good fit for anyone who has a passion for studying disease and possesses strong problem-solving skills. This career path has numerous benefits. It is one of the most lucrative careers in the healthcare sector. You will have the opportunity to make an impact as well as solve health problems. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to earn a lucrative amount of income.


In this piece, I will discuss the training and education that are needed for starting a career in Pathology.

How to Start a Career in Pathology

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

    This is the first step to take towards pursuing a career in Pathology. This degree will prepare you for medical school as well as give you the foundational knowledge that is needed. Therefore, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry or a related field.

  2. Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

    This test is an important requirement to gain admission into a medical school. However, this depends on the country you are applying to. Some countries do not call it MCAT. But you will be required to take an examination. This examination will test your knowledge in areas such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Critical thinking.

  3. Attend Medical School

    Medical school is another important step to take when pursuing a career in Pathology. Medical school typically takes four years to complete and includes classroom and clinical training. During the first two years, you will focus on basic science courses such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. The final two years involve clinical rotations in various medical specialities.

  4. Complete a Residency Program

    After your medical school, you need to complete a residency program in Pathology. This can take about three to four years. You will gain hands-on training in areas such as diagnosing and treating diseases through laboratory testing, autopsies, and other procedures.

  5. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    You can decide to choose a specific area to specialise in Pathology. You can specialise in areas such as forensic pathology, dermatopathology, or cytopathology. However, you need to acquire additional training and certification.

  6. Obtain a License

    You need a license to practice as a pathologist. However, you must pass the required examinations and complete your residency program to qualify for a license.

  7. Stay Updated

    Pathology is a rapidly changing field. Therefore, it is important to continue your education and stay up-to-date with new developments and technologies. You can do this through means such as attending conferences, reading medical journals, and taking continuing education courses.

Important Skills for Pathologists

  1. Communication skills
  2. Attention to detail
  3. Patience
  4. Physical stamina
  5. Problem-solving skills
  6. Diagnostics
  7. Chemistry


Areas of Specialisation in Pathology

  1. Dermatopathologists

    Dermatopathologists are experts in the study of disorders and diseases of the skin. Additionally, they use skin cells to diagnose skin cancer, infections, and other skin disorders.

  2. Pediatric Pathologists

    Paediatric pathologists diagnose diseases that affect children, such as genetic disorders and paediatric cancers. They collaborate with paediatricians and other healthcare professionals to offer the best care to their patients.

  3. Forensic Pathologists

    Forensic pathologists are in charge of conducting autopsies and figuring out the actual cause of death in cases of questionable or unexpected deaths.

  4. Hematopathologists

    Hematopathologists specialise in illnesses of the blood and bone marrow. Generally, they use blood and bone marrow tissue samples to diagnose diseases like leukaemia and lymphoma.

  5. Anatomic Pathologists

    These professionals examine tissues and cells under a microscope to identify and diagnose diseases. They work in places such as hospitals or clinical laboratories. Additionally, they play a crucial role in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

  6. Surgical Pathologists

    Surgical pathologists are experts in diagnosing illnesses by analysing tissue samples taken during surgical procedures.

  7. Clinical Pathologist

    Clinical pathologists are experts in both laboratory test interpretation and bodily fluid analysis. They conduct and interpret samples such as blood, urine, and other diagnostic tests.

  8. Cytopathologists

    These experts examine cells obtained using a variety of techniques, such as fine needle aspirations, body fluid samples, and Pap smears.

  9. Neuropathologists

    Neuropathologists specialise in the study of diseases affecting the nervous system and the brain. They use brain tissue samples to diagnose diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.


Universities in Africa that Offer Pathology

  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  2. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  3. Cairo University, Egypt
  4. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  5. Mansoura University, Egypt
  6. Makerere University, Uganda
  7. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  8. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  9. Assiut University, Egypt
  10. University of Ghana, Ghana
  11. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  12. Tanta University, Egypt
  13. University of Gondar, Ethiopia
  14. Al-Azhar University, Egypt
  15. University of Khartoum, Sudan
  16. North-West University, South Africa
  17. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  18. University of the Free State, South Africa
  19. University of Malawi, Malawi
  20. Suez Canal University, Egypt
  21. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  22. University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  23. Jimma University, Ethiopia
  24. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  25. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  26. Mohammed V University, Morocco
  27. University of Zambia, Zambia
  28. Beni-Suef University, Egypt
  29. University of Monastir, Tunisia
  30. Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
  31. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  32. Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal
  33. Tunis University, Tunisia
  34. University of Sfax, Tunisia
  35. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  36. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
  37. Sohag University, Egypt
  38. Mekelle University, Ethiopia
  39. Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
  40. Helwan University, Egypt
  41. Moi University, Kenya


In Conclusion, pursuing a career in pathology can be a challenging venture. This is because this career path takes several years and requires a lot of hard work and effort. However, this career path can give you a rewarding profession. You will play an important role in the healthcare sector. Most importantly, this career will allow you to make an impact in the lives of people, both young and old.


Good luck!

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