Forensic pathology is a branch in science that deals with determining one's cause of death, by performing an autopsy by then studying the evidence given in physical form of the deceased. Usually when suicides, murders and mysterious deaths are involved, forensic pathologists step into the picture. They're trained to read and decipher the evidence while coming to a conclusive and firm result of what caused the death and how it was done by examining the body on close evaluation. To become a forensic pathologist would mean having the stomach to take in all the gory and gruesome responsibilities that are inevitably going to be involved.
You need to be focused in what you're performing and concentrate only on what is needed of you, without letting emotion and mental issues get into your way. There are two kinds of pathology arenas, namely clinical and anatomic. The former kind of pathology, deals with studying and measuring chemicals in the urine, body and blood samples, for the presence of maybe drugs or poisons. The latter branch of pathology namely anatomic, deals with examining tissue samples from the dead or living individual through ones senses of touch, sight and smell along with the use of a microscope. When one is a general pathologist, he/she examines those who are living, and spend a lot of time dealing with surgical pathology and cytopathology which is completely the opposite of what forensic pathology is about.
Educational Requirements to Become a Forensic Pathologist
The first thing you need to brace yourself for, is the years it takes to become a forensic pathologist. It is no walk in the park when it comes to learning the ropes in how to master this job, since it involves a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge. It takes about 10 to 15 years to be able to get to where you want to be in this field of science, where the requirements and credentials of the job will vary depending on where you live.
You'll need to have four years under your arm of a bachelor's degree, with another four years in medical school to get the doctor of medicine degree as well. Then comes another 4 to 5 years being a resident for either anatomic pathology, or a combination of both anatomic and clinical depending on what is much preferred. Once you complete that, you are then eligible to take the exams designed for students in the field of pathology. Another year or two then goes into forensic pathology fellowship, to be able to sit for the subspeciality board exam in forensic pathology.
Usually when one starts off in the field of pathology, the starting salary per year is about $26,000. As painstaking as it sounds to maintain your role as a med student and work your way up to the top, you salary will easily then reach up to about $60,000 - $180,000 per year depending on your state (where you reside) and level of experience and qualification. A lot of benefits come into play when it comes to even insurance and retirement settlements, which for any pathologist would be quite satisfying. Who knows, you could always be really good at what you're doing and advance to higher positions and areas in the world of science that could need your expertise. Hard work and diligence here is key.
Forensic pathology is no doubt a vast field to cover and may seem quite a deluded period to put oneself through - although the outcome of it all could reap in benefits like you never thought possible. If you've always wanted to become a forensic pathologist, then your drive and passion to be the best in your field will take you places.