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Pathologists are specialty trained physicians. They are doctors of medicine who practice chiefly in a medical laboratory setting. Pathologists serve as consultants to their clinical colleagues in the following ways: make diagnoses on anatomic tissue, guide physicians in test selection, manage medical laboratories and interpret laboratory tests. They serve as educators for the hospital staff and are referred to as “the doctor’s doctor.” Human pathology is a medical specialty requiring a medical degree and residency training in one or both branches of pathology (anatomic and clinical) or their subspecialties, as approved by the American Board of Pathology.

To become a pathologist a medical graduate must serve a five-year residency incorporating the major disciplines of anatomic and clinical pathology. Anatomic pathology encompasses surgical pathology, cytology and autopsy pathology. Clinical pathology includes all of the functions performed in the analytical work of the clinical laboratory such as hematology, chemistry, blood banking and microbiology.

Post-graduate Ph.D. degrees are available for those individuals who are interested in detailed study of disease processes and concentration on experimental pathology. Additional (subspecialty) board certifications exist for those pathologists who specialize and include such fields as: Clinical Chemistry, Cytopathology, Dermatopathology, Forensic Pathology, Hematopathology, Immunopathology, Neuropathology to name a few.

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