8 Pathology Specialties and Where Pathologists Can Find Employment
It’s safe to say that the majority of pathologists can agree with the statement “pathology is the bridge between science and medicine” since they’re both scientists and medical doctors. It’s the study of diseases and illnesses that affect the human body— and there are many. Pathologists work hard to study and better understand these diseases and illnesses, which helps find medicine and even cures for certain ailments.
Pathology itself is a broad field with many subspecialties, and pathologists in these subspecialties have several places where they can find employment. Here’s a look at eight of the most popular specialties within pathology and where these pathologists are usually employed.
#1: Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
This type of pathologist is responsible for maintaining an adequate blood supply, particularly in hospital settings. They’re also responsible for the maintenance of donor and recipient safety, as well as the appropriate utilization of blood.
Also known as anatomical pathology, pathologists who specialize in this field study cells from bold UL fluids and secretions to diagnose disease. This is usually done by scraping or spinning the surface of a lesion, but it can be done in other ways as well. One example of this is a Pap smear to detect cervical cancer cells in women. Cytopathologists are usually employed in laboratories, but OB/GYN offices and cancer treatment centers may also employ cytopathologists.
Dermatopathologists specialize in examining conditions affecting the skin, similar to the way that cytopathologists study the cells of bodily fluids. Because dermatopathology focuses on the skin, dermatopathologists can find work in a dermatologist’s office. Like other pathologists, they can also work in laboratories and other clinical settings studying degenerative, immunologic, infectious, and neoplastic diseases of the skin.
#4: Forensic Pathology
Forensic pathologists study the causes of sudden and unexpected deaths, especially if they were not determined to be caused by natural causes. It’s important to note that some states will also require you to be a coroner to be a forensic pathologist, particularly if you’ll be performing autopsies. Because of the nature of the job, forensic pathologists will more than likely be working in a laboratory, although many are called to various locations outside of a lab.
Hematopathology focuses on the blood cells, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, as hematopathologists study these systems to be able to better understand and treat issues such as anemia, bleeding and blood clotting disorders, leukemia, and lymphoma. Most hematopathologists will find work in laboratories, but they can also be employed alongside hematologists in blood banks and private clinics.
#6: Microbiology, Genetic, and Chemical Pathologies
When it comes to microbiology and pathology, pathologists in this field study the microbial agents in bacteria, fungi, parasites, and fungi. The nature of this job requires pathologists to work in a lab setting.
Molecular genetic pathologists study genetics, human development, and infectious diseases to confirm that a disease or illness is, in fact, a genetic condition. These types of pathologists also typically work in a lab.
Chemical pathologists study the biochemistry of the human body to better understand the effects of diseases as they progress. These pathologists find work in labs, as well as hospitals, clinics, and other types of medical settings.
A neuropathologist studies the nervous system, brain, and skeletal muscle tissues to understand and determine the cause of a problem. Problems can be either degenerative (Parkinson’s disease) or vascular (vascular dementia) in nature, or they can be immunologic, infectious, metabolic, neoplastic, or even physical. They work closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons, meaning that they can work in neurology clinics, hospitals, research centers, and/or laboratories.
#8: Pediatric Pathology
Pathology is a broad field with many specialties (as noted above), but all of these specialties tend to focus on adults. However, pediatric pathology is its own special branch because children’s bodies are much different from adults’ bodies. Pediatrics, in general, studies the early stages of life, with a range as broad as prenatal development through adolescence.
Pediatric pathologists have a general knowledge and understanding of all specialties of pathology, child development, and pediatric medicine. Because of this, pediatric pathologists can find work in laboratories, research centers, children’s hospitals, and blood banks, working with pediatricians, hematologists, obstetricians, or surgeons.
As a pathologist, you can find employment in a variety of medical and research settings, especially if you’re a pediatric pathologist or if you don’t practice within a specialty. In fact, you may even be able to find more employment opportunities.