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.
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.
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:
|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|
|Rhode Island||USD 262,722|
|South Carolina||USD 237,360|
|South Dakota||USD 144,567|
|West Virginia||USD 209,347|
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.
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.