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Getting Your Pathology Assistant Degree Via Distance Education

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 7/5/2011

Are you thinking about becoming a pathologist assistant, but do not have time to attend a traditional school? If so, read on to learn more about pathologist assistant distance education.

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    A pathologist assistant, different from a pathology technician, must obtain at least a Bachelor's degree in pathology, but a Master's degree in preferred. Most pathologist assistants will work in either autopsy pathology or surgical pathology. They will work directly with licensed pathologists. The program they chose must be certified by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, so this should be confirmed when searching for distance education programs for pathology assistants.

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    Required Courses

    Most students aspiring to become a pathologist assistant will be pursuing a Master's degree in this field. They will take the following courses:

    • Gross anatomy
    • Surgical pathology techniques
    • Forensic pathology
    • Medical ethics
    • Human physiology
    • Systemic pathology
    • General and clinical pathology
    • Laboratory procedures

    Master's degree students will have to complete a dissertation in order to successfully complete their program and graduate. Common dissertation topics include:

    • Medical and clinical biochemistry
    • Endocrine physiology
    • Haematology
    • Immunology
    • Oncology
    • Human cytogenetics
    • Medical aspects of molecular biology
    • Medical microbiology (including parasitology and virology)
    • Immunohaematology
    • Laboratory quality management
    • Histopathology and cytology
    • Reproductive physiology
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    Average Completion Time

    pathologist assistant distance education clock A Bachelor's degree takes about four years on average. A Master's degree takes about three years on average. Ultimately, the time spent pursuing a pathologist assistant distance education depends on the school the student attends and whether or not they have an previous degree credits that can be applied.

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    Top Online Schools

    Few schools offer this degree online. Charles Sturt University is one of these few schools. Students will have to apply and be accepted into this program. To qualify, students must already have a Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science), a Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathology) or an equal degree in a related field. Two years of laboratory experience in pathology is also required.

    To complete this program and hold a Master of Medical Science in Pathology they must complete 96 credits (includes dissertation). To earn a Postgraduate Diploma of Medical Science in Pathology they must complete 64 credits. To earn a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Science in Pathology they must complete 32 credits.

    Per eight credit points, students will pay $1,352.00. Other fees may be necessary, but this is decided on an individual basis. Students will also have to pay for all necessary textbooks and their internet access.

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    Possible Careers

    pathologist assistant distance education career Pathologist assistants most often work as autopsy pathologists or surgical pathologists. Surgical pathologists prepare and help to obtain surgical specimens via dissection. They will get all necessary patient clinical information. They also prepare tissues for histologic processing. Other duties include getting and submitting biological specimens for additional analytic procedures and assisting in photographing microscopic and gross specimens.

    Autopsy pathologists work to assist in autopsies. They are responsible for getting correct legal authorization and the medical history of the patient prior to beginning. They work directly with the pathologist to ensure everything is done correctly and documented properly and thoroughly.

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    Career Outlook and Salary

    Pathologist assistant careers are expected to grow between 2008 and 2018 by 16.1 percent. The median annual salary for pathology assistants is $78,597.00.

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    Why is it Better to Obtain this Degree Online?

    Obtaining this degree via distance learning will allow students to maintain their current lifestyle. They will be able to keep their current career, family obligations, and other obligations while still being able to further their education and earn their pathologist assistant degree.

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    Charles Sturt University. (2010). Master of Medical Science (Pathology). Retrieved on July 21, 2010 from Charles Sturt University:


    National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. (2008). Pathologists' Assistant (PATH A). Retrieved on June 1, 2011 from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences:

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    Image Credits

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    Laboratory Glasses: 123dan321 –