South African woman in a scrub suit symbolizing health and welfare careers

Additional information

body or mind



Medical Field

Boss or Team

Own Boss & Team


Good Communicator

Work With


Math & Science

Maths & Science

Study Length

Prepared to Study for Years


Busy Environment

Specialist Pathologist

Pathologists are specialists at identifying the cause of diseases and how they progress and spread. They do this by examining and studying changes in bodily tissue, blood and other body fluids (which are done through tests) and are experts at analysing the results. 

As a pathologist, you could also work in a large team to help diagnose patients. 

There are two primary areas in the field of pathology:

Anatomical pathology: involves examining tissue specimens taken from the body for  diagnostic purposes, often during surgery.  These pathologists play an important role in getting an accurate diagnosis for patients. For example, examining the tissue to determine if cancer cells are present. 

Clinical Pathologists:  conduct and oversee laboratory tests on body fluids like blood, urine or saliva etc. They perform tests to identify the presence of organisms like parasites, bacteria or viruses to identify the source of diseases. Some pathologists perform autopsies to determine the nature and extent of the disease which caused the death of a person.


How to become qualified in this field (learning path)

NSC or NC(v) with Bachelor’s Degree Pass

Degree: Bachelor of Medicine:

  1. • Theoretical training: 6 years.
  2. • Student internship: 1 year.
  3. • Community Service: 1 year

* Post-graduate study: 4-5 years specialisation: MMed (Pathology) including residency.


Duration of study

4 Years Post Grad studies after completing the MBChB degree to obtain an MMed (Pathology) degree.


Pathologists have many opportunities for employment including:

  • State hospitals
    – Clinics
    – Private practice

Further Information

Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HSPCA)


Stand A Chance Of Winning One Of 14 Funded Courses This Youth MonthCompetition Closes 30 June 2021