The first time I met a pathologist was when I was in pre-medical school in the caribbean. We were standing in line to get through customs when the doctor noticed my alma mater’s t-shirt. He introduced himself to me as a pathologist on vacation with his family. I had no idea what that was so asked him about it. He said it was the best job because he had no call, a lucrative salary, and most importantly, he said, a tremendous amount of time for his family. Lucky guy.
When I think of pathologists, I often think of them as the smartest physicians. They have to know the nitty-gritty details of all aspects of the medical spectrum clinically as well as it’s anatomy.
Do you have cancer? Only a pathologist can really tell you based on the cells from your tissue biopsy. Let’s look at the field’s demographics in more detail.
Just how much do pathology physicians make?
Majority of pathologists make between $216,626 and $292,307 dollars. The median reported salary is $247,408. Interestingly, the starting salary out of residency is one of the lowest starting salaries of the non-primary care specialties. There have been reports of a starting salary of $169,000. That’s along the same starting lines as family physicians and internal medicine doctors.
The maximum reported salary from the pathologist is $610,000!
Becoming a pathologist is a four-year postgraduate affair. It’s one of the few specialties that do not require a preliminary year in internal medicine or surgery. Right now, there are 146 programs offering residency training.
If you want to sub-specialize, you can. Here are just a few of the choices:
- transfusion medicine
- forensic pathology
- pediatric pathology
Pathology is a clinical field but without patient contact. It offers an excellent lifestyle with minimal to no call, a very good salary, and shift work. It’s a well respected field and requires immense attention to detail. If you enjoy anatomy and clinical medicine but don’t particularly enjoy interacting with patients, take a look into pathology to see if it suits you.