Surgical Pathologist

Examine patient samples and surgical biopsies to help study disease.
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Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
~ $172,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Surgical Pathologists do?

Surgical Pathologists study the origin and progression of diseases by gathering that information from organs, tissues, and bodily fluids that come about as a result of surgery.

As a Surgical Pathologist, you don’t participate in the actual surgery. In fact, most of your time is spent in the laboratory. You can make some diagnoses with your naked, albeit well-trained, eye. But you’re a Scientist as well as a Surgical Pathologist, so you don’t rely on your visual skills alone.

Instead, you back up your hypothesis with hard scientific evidence in the form of microscopic examinations and chemical concoctions. In other words, you use both fancy and basic equipment to decide whether the sample is infected.

Your tests also help identify the exact cause of the problem. Testing surrounding tissues provides information about how far the disease has spread. You might find cancer cells, or be able to definitively state that the sample is cancer-free.

Speaking of samples, you might analyze anything from a mole that a Dermatologist has cut off, to a diseased gall bladder that a Surgeon has removed. Other samples include biopsies from tumors and cysts, cells, organs, bodily fluids, and tissues.

In addition to helping Doctors diagnose disease, you might work as a Forensic Surgical Pathologist, examining deceased people to establish the cause of death. You might also use your knowledge to teach, give presentations at industry conferences, or provide witness testimony in court cases.

Should I be a Surgical Pathologist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Musical Therapist

    How to become a Surgical Pathologist

    Most Surgical Pathologists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||||doctorate+%28100%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,100
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