How to Become a Pathologist: A Step-by-Step Career Guide

published on
Jul 2, 2024
4 Min REad
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Are you fascinated by the intricacies of human health and disease? Do you have a keen eye for detail and a passion for solving medical mysteries? If so, then becoming a pathologist might be the perfect career path for you.

With the growing demand for qualified pathologists in India, there are ample opportunities awaiting those who pursue this field. In this comprehensive guide on how to become a pathologist in India, we will walk you through the steps to entering this rewarding profession.


Who is a Pathologist?

A pathologist is a medical professional who specialises in diagnosing diseases and conditions by examining tissue samples, bodily fluids, and other specimens. They play a crucial role in understanding the underlying causes of diseases and providing accurate diagnoses for effective treatment.

Pathologists work in laboratories, hospitals, research institutions, and academic settings. They analyse samples using microscopes, advanced technology, and various testing methods.

Skills required to be a pathologist

  • Strong scientific knowledge and understanding of human anatomy
  • Proficiency in laboratory techniques and equipment operation
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in analysing samples
  • Ability to interpret complex data and make accurate diagnoses
  • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities
  • Good communication skills

How to Become a Pathologist: Education Requirements

To embark on a successful career as a pathologist, it is crucial to start preparing early, preferably during your high school years. Taking Science subjects, such as Biology and Chemistry, will provide you with a strong foundation for higher education in pathology. 

There are two main undergraduate programmes that aspiring pathologists can pursue in India:

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)

  • Duration: 5 and a half years to complete, including one year of compulsory internship
  • Fees: ₹5-10 lakhs per annum

BSc in Medical Laboratory Technology

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Fees: ₹1-3 lakhs per annum

College internships and practical training

During your undergraduate studies, it is highly recommended to seek practical exposure through internships at hospitals or laboratories. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your understanding of pathology but also provide valuable networking opportunities.

Some notable institutions providing college internships in pathology include:

  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi
  • Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore
  • Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
  • Apollo Hospitals, Chennai
  • Fortis Hospital, Bangalore

How to Become a Surgeon: Postgraduate Degree or Residency

To become a registered or licenced pathologist in India, it is necessary to pursue a postgraduate degree or residency programme after completing your undergraduate studies.

The most common postgraduate degree for aspiring pathologists is an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DNB (Diplomate of National Board) in Pathology. These programmes generally span three years and involve theoretical coursework as well as clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience in diagnosing diseases and analysing laboratory samples.

During your postgraduate studies, you can choose from various specialisations within pathology based on your interests and career goals. Popular specialisations include:

  • Forensic Pathology: This specialisation focuses on the investigation of deaths caused by criminal activities, accidents, or unexplained circumstances. Forensic pathologists play a crucial role in solving crimes and providing expert opinions in legal proceedings.
  • Hematopathology: Hematopathologists specialise in the study of diseases related to blood cells, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. They diagnose and treat conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and other haematological disorders.

Other specialisations within pathology include cytopathology, neuropathology, dermatopathology, and gastrointestinal pathology.


Job Potential and Career Paths for a Surgeon

After completing the necessary education and training, pathologists have a wide range of job opportunities available to them.

They can work in both the government and private sectors, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Research institutes
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Academic institutions

As a pathologist, you can choose to specialise in a particular area of pathology or opt for a more general practice.

  • Specialising in niche fields like Forensic Pathology or Hemopathology can open up unique career paths with higher demand and remuneration.
  • Additionally, pathologists have the option to pursue research as part of their career. By conducting studies on diseases, analysing data, and publishing research papers, they contribute to advancements in medical science and improve patient care.
  • Another potential career path for pathologists is joining an academic institution as a professor. This role involves teaching pathology to aspiring medical students while continuing research work.

Salaries for Pathologists

In terms of salary, pathologists are well compensated for their specialised skills and expertise. The salary of a pathologist varies based on factors such as experience, specialisation, location, and type of employer. On average, entry-level pathologists can expect to earn between ₹6-10 lakhs per year. With experience and specialisation, this figure can increase significantly.

Job Position

Salary Range (per annum)

Junior Pathologist

₹6-10 lakhs

Senior Pathologist

₹10-20 lakhs

Consultant Pathologist

₹15-30 lakhs


₹12-25 lakhs

Upskill to Upscale!

To further expand your skills and stay updated with advancements in the field of pathology, there are various upskilling programmes available for aspiring pathologists. These programmes include certificate courses and workshops that offer specialised training in specific areas of pathology.

Whether you want to specialise in a particular branch of pathology or broaden your overall expertise, WIZR can help you find the right upskilling programme to meet your career goals. So, kickstart your career in pathology today!



1. What does a pathologist do on a daily basis?

Pathologists examine body tissues, fluids, and cells to diagnose diseases. They analyse samples using advanced laboratory techniques and provide reports to aid in patient treatment.

2. How much does it cost to become a registered or licenced pathologist in India?

The cost of obtaining an MBBS degree can range from ₹10 lakhs to ₹50 lakhs, while pursuing a postgraduate degree can cost between ₹5 lakhs to ₹30 lakhs.

3. Are pathologists among the highest-paid medical practitioners?

Yes, pathologists are generally well compensated for their expertise. Salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, specialisation, and location.

4. Can I apply for a pathology job abroad?

Yes, with the appropriate qualifications and licencing requirements fulfilled, you can explore job opportunities abroad as a pathologist.

5. Can WIZR help me find any scholarships available for education or upskilling courses related to Pathology?

WIZR provides guidance on scholarships and financial assistance options available for aspiring pathologists pursuing education or upskilling programmes, helping you access valuable resources to support your career journey.

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