Health Service Categories and Careers


Pathology encompasses very broad knowledge on the pathophysiology of health and disease, along with specialised knowledge of laboratory testing and operations. It bridges knowledge between clinical medicine and science and is considered the foundation of testing, treatment and patient care. Pathology studies the anatomical, biochemical and physiological processes of the human body, its mechanisms, and the conditions which lead to disease. It studies macroscopic pathology, histopathology (surgical pathology), cytopathology, serology, toxicology, chemistry and chemical pathology, haematology, biology and microbiology, immunopathology and molecular/genetic pathology. Pathology practice involves many diagnostic techniques, including examination of the patient, taking specimens of blood, tissue or fluids, and using other components of laboratory medicine to undertake tests and investigations which guide medical diagnosis and management. It seeks to use safe and accurate procedures which produce high-quality material and interpretation. Pathology recognises the diagnostic value of individual tests, while being aware of the limitations of investigations and knowledge. This field of medicine offers expert opinion to other specialty areas of medicine and science and makes contributions to pathology research and education. Pathologists either study General Pathology, or undertake training in a Pathology subspecialty area, including Anatomical pathology (including cytopathology), Chemical pathology, Haematology, Immunology, Microbiology, and Forensic pathology.

Pathology Jobs

General Pathologists test blood, tissue and bodily fluids for chemical and other changes, helping to identify and assess health and disease. General pathologists often work in supervisory roles in public and private hospital departments and laboratories. They provide clinicians expert opinion and advice on pathology testing, such as choice of biopsy/specimen, or limitations, and seek to provide a robust and accurate diagnostic service. They manage pathology laboratories, advise and work with scientific staff, ensure safety and quality control of procedures and laboratory operations, train pathology trainees and facilitate collaborative research activities between clinical medicine and pathology. General Pathologists have broad knowledge across pathology subspecialty areas including microbiology, haematology and clinical chemistry, anatomical pathology, (including cytology and forensic pathology), and some knowledge of relevant genetic pathology or immunopathology. To pursue a career as a General Pathologist, registered doctors with at least 2 years postgraduate experience, can apply to undertake pathology training with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia (RCPA). Pathology training takes a minimum of 5 years to complete, and can be undertaken in General and Clinical Pathology, or one of the Pathology specialty areas. Training in Chemical Pathology, Haematology, or Immunopathology and Microbiology is offered via a joint training program between RCPA and The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). These all lead to Fellowship and Specialist registration with AHPRA.