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Additional information

body or mind

Body

Field

Medical Field

Boss or Team

Own Boss & Team

Communication

Good Communicator

Work With

People

Math & Science

Maths & Science

Study Length

Prepared to Study for Years

Environment

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 which 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 which 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.

Required Qualifications

Duration of Study

Specialist Pathologists in South Africa typically study for about 10-11 years. The first 6 years are spent in theoretical training to obtain a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) and 4-5 years are spent in post-graduate studies to obtain a Master of Medicine in Pathology degree.

In addition to the theoretical training and post-graduate studies, specialist surgeons also typically spend 1 year in student internship and 1 year in community service.

Employment Opportunities

Specialist Pathologists in South Africa have many opportunities for employment and often work in:

  • State hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Private practice

Further Information

Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HSPCA)

 

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