Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Updated

Pathologists' Assistant

Pathologists’ assistants perform gross dissection and examination of surgical specimens. They also perform autopsies, both forensic and medical. They work under the indirect supervision of pathologists.

Also Known As

Pathology Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 3211.2: Pathologists Assistants

2006 NOC-S

  • D211: Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists Assistants

2011 NOC

  • 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants

2016 NOC

  • 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants

2021 NOC

  • 31303: Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals

2023 OaSIS

  • 31303.05: Pathologist assistants
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pathologists’ assistants perform gross dissection and examination of surgical specimens. This means they inspect a specimen with the bare eye to get diagnostic information. They:

  • Assess, describe, dissect, and sample surgical and autopsy specimens for histologic examination
  • Help with specialized processes and procedures such as lymphoma protocol, toxicologic specimen sampling, or bone marrow procurement from autopsy specimens
  • Troubleshoot complex specimens and laboratory systems
  • Eviscerate autopsy specimens, record findings, and sample appropriate tissues during autopsy
  • Perform imaging and mapping of surgical tissue specimens
  • Perform quality control and quality assurance practices
  • Maintain clear, thorough records within laboratory systems
  • Triage and prepare specimens for appropriate fixation prior to gross dissection
  • Consult with medical staff and other health-care professionals, as required
  • Teach and train other medical professionals
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Typical hours of work are full-time day shifts. However, some pathologists’ assistants may work part time or casual hours with rotating day and evening shifts. This may include weekends and holidays, although this is rare.

Pathologists’ assistants work in lab settings. They may spend a lot of time standing or sitting. They may perform many repetitive tasks. They must follow safe work procedures. This reduces the risk of exposure to work-related hazards (biological, chemical, or radiation).

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Pathologists Assistants

2006 NOC: 3211.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

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

OBJECTIVE

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

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling findings from chemical analyses of collected tissue specimens

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pathologists’ assistants need:

  • The ability to summarize complex information succinctly
  • Fine motor skills
  • Spatial skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Change-management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work both independently and within a team environment
  • Normal colour vision

They also need:

  • The ability to work with deceased patients, surgical specimens, and other biological materials
  • The ability to work with all health-care providers
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • The ability to priorize tasks
  • Flexibility to adjust to changes in workflow

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants

2016 NOC: 3212

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 16 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 15, 2021 and Jul 17, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Clean and maintain medical laboratory and laboratory equipment
Hand-eye co-ordination
Attention to detail
Tasks: Conduct routine laboratory tests and sample analyses
Tasks: Set up medical laboratory equipment
Tasks: Conduct quality control assessment of testing techniques
Tasks: Discard specimens according to established safety procedures
Biology
Tasks: Collect tissue specimens for chemical analysis and record findings
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree in science (M.Sc.) from an accredited pathologists’ assistant program.


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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Additional Information

Outside of Alberta, the following schools offer programs related to this occupation:

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation. However, employers prefer those who are certified by the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists’ Assistants (CCCPA). Current routes of certification vary. After December 31, 2024, the major route of certification will require a master’s degree from an accredited pathologists’ assistant program.

Most Canadian employers also recognize certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pathologists’ assistants often work in hospital labs. They may also work in:

  • Private medical labs
  • Public health labs
  • A medical examiner’s office

 

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants occupational group, 94.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 60 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

 

Alberta’s population is aging. Strain on the health-care system is increasing. As a result, demand for pathologists’ assistants is expected to keep growing. Many new positions open as demand increases and current staff retire.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants

2016 NOC: 3212
Average Wage
$35.45
Per Hour
Average Salary
$52,854.00
Per Year
Average Hours
28.6
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3212 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $22.73 $38.62 $25.44 $22.82
Overall $25.54 $49.14 $35.45 $35.17
Top $27.50 $50.53 $45.86 $50.53

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
N/A
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
N/A
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) website: www.ascp.org

Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists’ Assistants website: www.cap-acp.org/CCCPA.php

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: hsaa.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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.

Was this page useful?