Medical doctors depend on accurate lab reports to help them diagnose and treat patients. Pathologists' assistants perform medical lab services and administrative duties under the direction and supervision of a licensed, certified pathologist. Some of the tasks that pathologists' assistants perform include examining surgical pathology specimens and performing autopsies. Highly technical training is required to learn correct procedures in surgical pathology and forensic examination.

In order to become a pathologists' assistant, you must first graduate college with a degree in biology or related discipline and earn a master's degree from an accredited pathologists' assistant program. These pathologists' assistant schools typically take two years to complete. Hands on training is essential in addition to online instruction or classroom lecture. Graduates leave with a master's degree in science or health science. Jobs can be found in hospitals, private labs, medical teaching centers, businesses and forensic labs, for instance.

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut offers a master's degree in health science. The two-year program includes four semesters and two summer sessions. The first year includes didactic course work in courses such as medical terminology, histology and pathogenic microbiology, whereas the second year is a 12-month session of autopsy and surgical pathology clinical training in a hospital. Students become familiar with the pathologists' assistant profession by attending weekly meetings including clinical and gross conferences at the local veterans hospital. Students are admitted to Quinnipiac University on a rolling basis until the official deadline of October 1, with interviews conducted in the summer and fall semester. The program itself begins in the summer semester.

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Rosalind Franklin University

Students at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Illinois receive a Master of Science degree in pathologists' assistant studies. Beginning in May, this 22-month-long program consists of one year of classroom learning and one year of clerkship rotations. Students begin taking lecture and laboratory courses in topics such as clinical anatomy, clinical correlations and general and systemic pathology. Starting in the summer of their second year, students begin their anatomic pathology clerkships. The Rosalind Franklin pathology assistant program is affiliated with a number of medical universities, hospitals and clinics, including University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, University of Kansas Medical Center and Cook County Medical Examiner's office. The application deadline is February 28.

Duke University

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University offers a pathologists' assistant program that awards students a Master of Health Science degree. The Duke University pathology assistant program is affiliated with a number of local established medical schools and hospitals, including Duke University Medical Center, University of North Carolina Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital. This two-year program begins in August, with an application deadline of January 31. Scores from the Graduate Record Exam or Medical College Admission Test are required for admission. Students may be admitted into this program if they received a bachelor's degree in a non-science field, as long as they have at least 24 credit hours in advanced science courses.

Indiana University

The Indiana University pathology assistant program in Indianapolis, Indiana offers the master of science degree upon completing of the 22-month program. The program begins in August, with an application deadline of March 15. The class size is around four to five students per class, so admission is competitive. Students must have a bachelor's degree in a science field to be admitted, and must have a science and overall 3.0 GPA. Scores from the MCAT and GRE are also required. According to the Indiana University website, part-time study is permitted, although not recommended,

About the Author

Gale Marie Thompson's work has been published in "Denver Quarterly," "Los Angeles Review" and "Best New Poets 2012." Thompson holds a BA in English and creative writing from the College of Charleston, a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is working on a PhD at the University of Georgia.