Pathologist Assistant

A pathologist assistant prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients’ medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations. They also assist with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists’ supervision. They dissects, examines, weighs and photographs organs and specimens, collects tissue samples for chemical analysis and record findings. Pathologist assistants are also responsible for discarding specimens according to established safety procedures. Cleaning and maintaining dissection, microscopes, and other instruments and equipment is also their responsibilities.

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Average Hourly


Range Hourly

$18.57 – $60.90

Average Yearly


Range Yearly

$36,208 – $118,752

Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants (3212)

Autopsy technologist - medical laboratory

Cytogenetics technologist - medical laboratory

Cytology technologist

Cytotechnologist - medical laboratory

Electron microscopy technologist - medical laboratory

Hematology technologist - medical laboratory

Histology technologist

Histology technologist - medical laboratory

Histopathology technologist

Histotechnologist - medical laboratory

Immunohematology technologist

Immunohematology technologist - medical laboratory

In-charge technologist - autopsy services

Medical laboratory supervisor

Medical laboratory technical supervisor

Medical laboratory technologist - anatomical pathology

Medical technologists supervisor

Serology technologist

Tissue technologist - medical laboratory

Pathology technician

A 2 years master’s/diploma program on ‘Pathology Assistant’ available in a handful of universities/colleges in Canada.

Average hourly

Range hourly

Average yearly

Range yearly


$18.57 - $60.90


$36,208 - $118,752


Employment outlook is mostly good across most provinces. More information is available here.

Depending on the work settings i.e., private laboratory, hospital, community and public health clinic, institutional research labs, biotechnology/ pharmaceutical companies, management positions are usually achievable. Some Pathology Assistants go into teaching and training and become instructors in institutions, and others go to research.

Programs available at universities across countries. For examples:

Master of Pathologists' Assistant at University of Calgary

MSc Pathologists' Assistant at University of Alberta

MClSc Pathologists' Assistant Graduate Program at Western University

MSc. in Anatomy and Cell Biology at University of Saskatchewan

Master Of Science In Pathology And Laboratory Medicine (MSc) at University of British Columbia

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Manual dexterity, Patience, Precise in work, diligent, communication skills; leadership; time management; medical terminology knowledge; Interest to spend long time in lab settings; ability to work in stressful situations at times; very diligent and careful; reasonable physical stamina; must be detail oriented and able to follow strict procedures; must be able to work both independently and as part of a team; should have good interpersonal skills.

Pathology assistants may need to work long time sitting or standing. They are required to be diligent and often need prolonged visual focus and repetitive motions.

There is risk of being exposed to strong chemicals, biological hazards, infectious diseases and the potential for needle prick injuries. They need to be extremely cautious and careful to follow laboratory safety procedures to be safe from contracting infection, and ensure the safety of patients and co-workers, Pathology assistants practise safe work procedures.

They may work full-time or part-time hours or on a call-in (casual) basis.

This is currently regulated but employers generally prefer certification from Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists' Assistants (CCCPA).

Difference between Autopsy Assistant/Morgue Technicians and Pathology Assistant

Pathology assistants generally work in hospital laboratories, private research labs and teaching facilities, according to the AAPA. They also work in morgue settings, especially when they assist forensic pathologist where they may work with organs and tissues of dead bodies. Morgue technicians/Autopsy Assistants work in hospital and city morgues. While Pathology Assistants are required to have college/university degrees, morgue technicians/autopsy assistants generally only need a high school or equivalent diploma. The salaries between the two professions also differ greatly. Pathologists' assistants earn an average yearly salary of $69,854, according to Neuvoo. According to Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system autopsy assistants/morgue technicians are classified as ‘Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414)’, while pathology assistants are classified as ‘Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants (3212)’. The average salary for autopsy assistants is listed at $44,989 per year.

  1. Get admitted into Master’s program for Pathology Assistant program. The admission into some universities maybe competitive.

  2. Certification from the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists' Assistants (CCCPA).

  3. Getting admission into the Master’s program may be challenging as they are highly competitive. However, taking some open courses related to laboratory technology may facilitate the admission. For example, some such courses are available in NAIT. Also, some can start with other certificate or diploma program for laboratory technology such as Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) certificate to increase chance for the admission