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Pathologist's Assistant

Pathologists' assistants help pathologists prepare and conduct medical laboratory tests, examinations and experiments and perform analyses on medical data in order to diagnose, treat and prevent disease and illness.

  • Avg. Salary $62,183.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.98
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Pathology Assistant, Pathology Technologist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Pathologist's Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Pathologists Assistants
NOC code: 3211.2

Interest in assisting pathologists to prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations; and in cleaning and maintaining autopsy, surgical and other equipment


Interest in precision working with autopsy and surgical equipment to weigh and photograph organs and specimens; may perform the duties of a medical laboratory technologist in some hospitals


Interest in compiling findings from chemical analyses of collected tissue specimens

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 16, 2016

A pathologist's assistant provides support and assistance to pathologists for preparing and analyzing medical and surgical samples. The work of a pathologist's assistant allows hospitals to confirm difficult diagnoses, recommend and perform medical or surgical treatments and gather valuable information and knowledge about disease and illness that may be useful for research purposes.

Pathologists' assistants' responsibilities include the following:

  • prepare specimens for testing and microscopic examination
  • assist with analysis of medical samples
  • study tissues for medical diagnosis, treatment and prevention purposes
  • perform and assist with autopsies under pathologists' supervision
  • examine and assess surgical specimens
  • train and supervise junior resident pathologists, pathologist's assistants, and morgue attendants.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Hours of work may 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, they may 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, performing tasks that may be repetitive. They must observe safety precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious body fluids, dangerous chemicals or hazardous radiation.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Pathologists' assistants need the following characteristics:

  • interpersonal skills, and the ability to work well with coworkers and the public
  • ability to follow instructions
  • precision and attention to detail
  • ability to work quickly and accurately
  • good manual dexterity
  • normal colour vision
  • communication and problem-solving skills
  • organizational skills.

They should enjoy:

  • taking a methodical approach to their work
  • working with laboratory equipment
  • helping people and assisting medical personnel.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Pathologists' assistants generally require a master's of science degree from a pathologist's assistant program, or an equivalent combination of training and experience as a Medical Laboratory Technologist or histotechnologist, though in some cases a bachelor's degree may be sufficient.

Membership with the Canadian Association of Pathologists (pathologist's assistant section) is generally preferred.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Pathologists' assistants typically work in hospital laboratories, but may also be employed by:

  • private medical laboratories
  • public health laboratories
  • forensic laboratories
  • university research laboratories
  • environmental laboratories
  • veterinary laboratories
  • industrial laboratories
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • biotechnology firms.

Pathologists' assistants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants.  In Alberta, 91% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,000 Albertans are employed in the Medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.7% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 74 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As pathologist's assistants form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for pathologist's assistants.

Demand for pathologists' assistants is expected to continue growing in Alberta, as the population ages and strain on the healthcare system increases. Employment opportunities are generated through the creation of new positions and through turnover due to retirement.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Pathologist's Assistant are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants occupational group earned on average from $27.71 to $44.43 an hour. The overall average wage was $33.98 an hour. For more information, see the Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta website:

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 21, 2013. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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