There are only 8 accredited Pathologist Assistant programs in the US: Indiana University, Duke, West Vriginia, University of Maryland, Drexel in Philadelphia, Rosalind Franklin in Chicago, Wayne State in Detroit, and Quinnipiac in Connecticut. I chose Indiana University because of it was one of the closer universities to my family (in Alabama) and because it was in a not-so-scary city (Indianapolis).
Most of these schools offer a 2-year Master of Science program. Admission is usually based on courses taken and GPA from undergraduate studies, experience, and GRE scores. The programs are almost identical and require one year of classwork followed by a year of clinical rotations. Once you complete the program, you are eligible to take the certification exam through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Pathologist Assistants are exactly what the name implies: assistants to pathologists. Pathology is the study and diagnosis of disease. Pathologists are specialized doctors that view slides of different tissues and fluids and make diagnoses. In order to get the tissue on the slides, multiple steps have to be taken.
Different types of tissue can include a small biopsy from a colonoscopy, to a skin shave to remove a mole, to that gallbladder or appendix you had taken out, to segments of colon and breast tissue removed due to cancer. A Pathologist Assistant is needed to gross the larger specimens since training includes a large amount of anatomy and the proper way to handle margins of tumors.
I completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a 3.85 GPA. I found full-time employment in my field after a year and was trained on the job to be a grossing assistant. I had been grossing biopsies and small specimens for 5 years before deciding to go back to school and get my master's so I could seek certification in this field. I will graduate from Indiana University in July 2015!
|love the view from the pathology building|
So there's a quick education of my program and future career. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Also, feel free to visit the Association of Pathologists' Assistants for additional information. And if you are interested in finding out more about Indiana University's Pathologist Assistant program, click here!