|Also Known As|
|Pathology Assistant||Pathology Technologists|
Pathologists’ assistants help with autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens, or perform autopsies under a pathologist’s supervision. They assist pathologists by preparing and running medical laboratory tests, examinations, and experiments, and by analyzing medical data in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease and illness.
Pathologists’ assistants should be precise and pay attention to detail, and they should be able to follow instructions and be well organized and methodical, but be able to work quickly and accurately. They should have normal colour vision and be good with their hands, and they should enjoy working with laboratory equipment. They should have excellent interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills, and be able to work well assisting medical personnel or working with co-workers and the public.
Pathologists’ assistants typically work in hospital laboratories, but they may also be employed by:
Hours of work vary in this occupation. Pathologists’ assistants may work full-time, part-time, or casual hours. In research laboratories, they often work standard weekday hours. In diagnostic clinical laboratories, pathologists’ assistants often work rotating day, evening, and night shifts (including weekends and holidays).
Pathologists’ assistants work in laboratory environments where they may spend a lot of time standing or sitting, and performing tasks that may be repetitive. Pathologists’ assistants are at risk for exposure to infectious body fluids, dangerous chemicals, or hazardous radiation, and they must follow safety precautions to reduce the risk.
Employers want to hire people who have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s of Science degree or an equivalent combination of training and experience as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical lab tech, or histotechnologist. Employers’ expectations of pathologists’ assistants are increasing as the role of this occupation changes and takes on more responsibility.
Employers often prefer that potential employees are members of a professional association, such as the Canadian Association of Pathologists (pathologist’s assistant section) or American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants. Some Canadian employers may require certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Employers may test for language ability because it is important for workers to understand instructions and share information to complete tasks properly and work safely.
Pathologists’ assistants use communication skills on the job in many ways:
To review examples of how other Essential Skills are used by pathologists’ assistants in the workplace go to Explore Careers by Essential Skills on the Working in Canada website.
The ability to speak and write in multiple languages can be an advantage in Canada’s multicultural environment.
Wages are affected by the workers’ level of education, work experience, and job responsibilities, plus the job location, work conditions, and whether the workforce is unionized or not. The numbers provided below reflect a national average for low, median (mid-point), and high wages (before taxes). These wages are for the occupational group 3112, which includes medical laboratory techs and pathologists’ assistants, which includes pathologists’ assistants.
|$17.25 per hour||$29.88 per hour||$39 per hour|
|$35,880 per year||$62,150 per year||$81,120 per year|
For wage information in specific parts of Canada, go to Explore Careers by Wages on the Working in Canada website.
With education and experience, workers may progress to supervisory or senior management positions, or they may choose to teach or work in private industry.
The Canadian Association of Pathologists works for high quality standards for patient care by providing national leadership and promoting excellence in pathology and laboratory medicine practice, education, and research. Check out the pathologists’ assistants section of the site.
The American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants (AAPA) provides pathologists’ assistants with education, networking, and professional support, as well as promoting public and professional awareness of the profession.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)is the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals. ASCP’s purpose is to provide excellence in education, certification and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists and laboratory professionals all over the world.
Health Canada is the Canadian federal department that helps Canadians maintain and improve their health. For a description of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments’ roles, see the Health Care System Delivery.
Many health jobs in Canada are with provincial and territorial government health services. Some of the provincial organizations that post job openings or career opportunities are listed below:
Note: These websites tend to change frequently.