Summary Report for:
29-1069.07 - Pathologists
Diagnose presence and stage of diseases using laboratory techniques and patient specimens. Study the nature, cause, and development of diseases. May perform autopsies.
Sample of reported job titles: Anatomic Pathologist, Associate Pathologist, Attending Pathologist, Cytopathologist, Dermatopathologist, Forensic Pathologist, Oral Pathologist, Pathologist, Pathology Laboratory Director
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities.
- Diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry, and molecular biology.
- Write pathology reports summarizing analyses, results, and conclusions.
- Identify the etiology, pathogenesis, morphological change, and clinical significance of diseases.
- Analyze and interpret results from tests such as microbial or parasite tests, urine analyses, hormonal assays, fine needle aspirations (FNAs), and polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).
- Communicate pathologic findings to surgeons or other physicians.
- Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in pathology.
- Consult with physicians about ordering and interpreting tests or providing treatments.
- Plan and supervise the work of the pathology staff, residents or visiting pathologists.
- Review cases by analyzing autopsies, laboratory findings, or case investigation reports.
- Educate physicians, students, and other personnel in medical laboratory professions such as medical technology, cytotechnology, and histotechnology.
- Manage medical laboratories.
- Develop or adopt new tests or instruments to improve diagnosis of diseases.
- Diagnose infections, such as Hepatitis B and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), by conducting tests to detect the antibodies that patients' immune systems make to fight such infections.
- Conduct genetic analyses of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or chromosomes to diagnose small biopsies and cell samples.
- Obtain specimens by performing procedures such as biopsies and fine need aspirations (FNAs) of superficial nodules.
- Conduct research and present scientific findings.
- Perform autopsies to determine causes of deaths.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Analytical balances
- Benchtop centrifuges — Centrifuges
- Biopsy needles — FNAC needles
- Blood gas analyzers — In vitro blood gas analyzers
- Capillary or hematocrit tubes — Capillary tubes
- Chemistry analyzers — Clinical chemical systems
- Coagulation analyzers
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Dropping pipettes — Automated pipettes; Disposable plastic pipettes; Gravimetric pipettes
- Electron microscopes
- Electrophoresis system accessories — Electrophoresis instruments
- Eyewashers or eye wash stations — Eyewash fountains
- Facial shields — Chemical protective face shields
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers — Laboratory refrigerators
- Hazardous material protective apparel — Personal protective equipment
- Hemacytometer sets — Hemacytometers
- Hematology analyzers
- Histology or cytology slide stainers — Automated slide stainers
- Histology paraffin — Paraffin molds
- Histology tissue cassettes — Histopathology block holders
- Immunology analyzers — Automated immunoassay analyzers; Chemiluminescent immunoassay analyzers; Fluorescence polarization immunoassay analyzers
- Irradiation gamma sources — Blood irradiators
- Label making machines — Label printers
- Laboratory flasks — Volumetric flasks
- Laboratory freezer or refrigerator thermometers
- Laboratory vials — Weighing vials
- Mass spectrometers — Mass spectroscopes
- Medical exam or non surgical procedure gloves — Powder-free gloves
- Microbiology analyzers — Flow cytometers
- Microtomes — Freezing microtomes; Rotary microtomes; Sliding microtomes; Ultra microtomes (see all 6 examples)
- Non vacuum blood collection tubes or containers — Sterile screw-cap cups; Sterile screw-cap glass tubes; Sterile screw-cap plastic tubes
- Patient identification and information products — Positive patient identification PPID systems
- Petri plates or dishes — Plastic petri dishes
- Photo attachments for microscopes — Digital photomicroscopes
- Photometers — Flame photometers
- Rapid amplification or complementary deoxyribonucleic acid ends RACE technology products — Polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment
- Shaking incubators — Blood culture incubators
- Slide dryers — Slide drying ovens
- Specialty plates for bacteria — Blood agar plates
- Specimen holders — Anaerobic specimen transport systems
- Spinal anesthesia kit or tray — Lumbar puncture needles
- Spirometers or its accessories or its supplies — Spirometers
- Sputum collection apparatus or containers — Sputum traps
- Surgical bone biopsy trephines — Bone marrow puncture needles; Trephine biopsy needles
- Swab collection or transport containers — Swab transports
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermal cyclers
- Tissue processors — Tissue baths
- Ultra cold or ultralow upright cabinets or freezers — Freezers
- Urinalysis analyzers — Urinometers
- Vacuum blood collection tubes or containers — Clot tubes; Sterile vacutainer tubes
- Volumetric pipettes
- Water baths — Laboratory water baths
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Cerner Millennium ProFit; Healthvision MediAR; TELCOR Billing Information System; XIFIN (see all 12 examples)
- Information retrieval or search software — Digital image databases
- Medical software — CPSI CPSI System; MEDITECH Anatomical Pathology; PathLogix; Wyndgate Technologies ElDorado Donor (see all 81 examples)
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Detailed Work Activities
- Analyze laboratory specimens to detect abnormalities or other problems.
- Communicate test or assessment results to medical professionals.
- Diagnose medical conditions.
- Operate laboratory equipment to analyze medical samples.
- Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
- Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
- Collect biological specimens from patients.
- Test biological specimens to gather information about patient conditions.
- Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
- Train medical providers.
- Develop health assessment methods or programs.
- Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
- Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
- Supervise technical medical personnel.
- Present medical research reports.
- Analyze medical data to determine cause of death.
- Manage healthcare operations.
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 100% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 84% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 78% responded “Very important results.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 14% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Consequence of Error — 64% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Electronic Mail — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 65% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Contact With Others — 61% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Very important.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 77% responded “More than half the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 40% responded “High responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 33% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Public Speaking — 47% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IR
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Physicians and Surgeons, All Other.
Employment data collected from Physicians and Surgeons, All Other.
Industry data collected from Physicians and Surgeons, All Other.
|Median wages (2014)||$90.00+ hourly, $187,200+ annual|
|Employment (2012)||349,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||152,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Physicians and Surgeons . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.