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Pathologist Salary

Pathologist Salary
Factors that help determine the salary of a pathologist are geographical location, years of experience, employee credentials, specialization, and the hiring organization. This CareerStint write-up provides information on the average salary of medical pathologists.
CareerStint Staff
According to a survey conducted by the College of American Pathologists, the median income of pathologists of all age groups is about USD 220,000.

Pathology refers to the branch of medical science that studies the etiology, nature, and effects of diseases. Basically, pathologists are specialty physicians who help in the detection of diseases by analyzing bodily fluids and tissues. They analyze bodily fluids and tissues, supervise clinical lab technologists during the tests, and interpret the results. The detection of diseases is heavily dependent on the interpretation of these test results. Anatomic pathologists analyze tissues, and often assist surgeons by studying the tissue samples that are collected for biopsies during a surgery. On the other hand, forensic pathologists conduct tests on the evidence collected for criminal and civil cases. Pathologists also have the option to conduct research and develop new diagnostic tests or equipment to facilitate accurate diagnosis. Some pathologists might choose to educate medical students and lab technologists.

In general, the job outlook is good due to employment opportunities and lucrative salaries. However, the salary would vary, depending on the geographical location, type of employer, field of specialization, experience, etc.

Average Salary of a Pathologist
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the salary range of medical pathologists with a Doctor of Medicine degree was between USD 239,000 and USD 331,842 in 2011. At present, the salary of a medical pathologist in the United States falls between USD 239,000 and USD 330,000. Coming to forensic pathologist salary, those who have an experience of 10 years or more are likely to earn USD 200,000 or more annually. Other benefits provided to pathologists are paid holidays (for a certain number of days), retirement plans, and health insurance. The median salary in most states is above USD 200,000.

Pathologists who work for office-based, single-specialty groups draw a larger salary than office-based solo practitioners, as well as those who work in outpatient clinics. Those who work in government positions are likely to earn less. Although the job profile is highly respectable, lecturers and professors who are engaged in academia are paid a slightly lower income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who taught health specialties in the universities earned a median (annual) salary of USD 85,030 in 2013. However, the salary range can vary considerably, depending on certain factors. It must be noted that self-employed physicians earn more than those who are employed.

Similar to other medical jobs, the job outlook for pathologists is quite good. With the expansion of healthcare industry, the demand for expert pathologists will be higher. Besides working in hospitals and public sectors, they are employed in private companies that deal with the production of therapeutic drugs and plant insecticides. Those employed in private clinics and diagnostic laboratories with sophisticated equipment are paid a higher income. Last but not the least, one can open his/her own clinic after gaining experience in the relative field. In such cases, the earning potential depends on the number of hours invested on a daily basis.

The following table provides the median salary of pathologists in different states:

Alabama USD 206,746
Alaska USD 280,130
Arizona USD 212,974
Arkansas USD 215,375
California USD 276,553
Colorado USD 252,792
Connecticut USD 277,579
Delaware USD 271,201
Florida USD 241,787
Georgia USD 226,105
Hawaii USD 271,501
Idaho USD 241,537
Illinois USD 263,022
Indiana USD 230,282
Iowa USD 203,169
Kansas USD 232,158
Kentucky USD 219,877
Louisiana USD 211,023
Maine USD 238,385
Maryland USD 256,919
Massachusetts USD 256,919
Michigan USD 260,821
Minnesota USD 261,746
Mississippi USD 228,981
Missouri USD 246,164
Montana USD 219,602
Nebraska USD 201,718
Nevada USD 258,670
New Hampshire USD 264,122
New Jersey USD 294,912
New Mexico USD 173,080
New York USD 294,912
North Carolina USD 249,115
North Dakota USD 226,855
Ohio USD 229,156
Oklahoma USD 210,122
Oregon USD 258,120
Pennsylvania USD 294,912
Rhode Island USD 262,722
South Carolina USD 237,360
South Dakota USD 144,567
Tennessee USD 236,309
Texas USD 251,541
Utah USD 230,057
Vermont USD 232,983
Virginia USD 276,128
Washington USD 261,696
West Virginia USD 209,347
Wisconsin USD 230,057
Wyoming USD 228,031

Educational Requirement
In order to become a pathologist, one has to first complete bachelor's degree in a program with a pre-medical curriculum. After the completion of undergraduate studies, one is required to earn the four-year Medical Doctor (M.D.)/Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree from an accredited medical school. This is followed by a four-year pathology residency program, which might focus on anatomic pathology and/or clinical pathology, which are the two primary specialties recognized by the American Board of Pathology. Separate board certification is required for these specialties.

Anatomic pathology, dermatopathology, forensic pathology, and laboratory medicine are four primary specialties that are recognized by the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology. During the residency program, residents can also study image analysis, cytogenetics, autopsy, molecular diagnostics, and protein biochemistry. The residents have the option of participating in research. After the residency, pathology residents can choose to specialize in dermopathology, surgical pathology, or pediatric pathology. In order to do so, they need to complete a fellowship that lasts for a couple of years. Pathologists can work in subspecialties such as hematology, pediatric pathology, transfusion medicine, and genetic pathology. Additional board certification is required for some of these subspecialties.

Job Description
A pathologist does the work of examining the nature, causal factors, development, symptoms, and overall effects of a disease. For this purpose, they test blood samples, urine samples, and tissue samples for the presence of bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. This helps in the detection of infections or diseases. To be more precise, pathologists assist other physicians, and are directly involved in diagnosing a medical condition (or tracking its developmental stages). Based on the test results, the most suitable treatment can be determined by the concerned physician.

The actual job profile and salary of a pathologist would depend on the field he/she has opted for. Some are engaged in teaching pathology in medical schools, whereas some are interested in laboratory testing. They can work as professors in universities, and researchers in scientific labs, forensic labs, and medical labs.

On a concluding note, the job of a medical pathologist is satisfying, as well as financially rewarding. However, opt for this profession, only if you can see yourself spending hours examining microscopic samples of tissue, cells, or fluids.