Anatomical pathology is the processing, examination, and diagnosis of surgical specimens in hospitals and public mortuaries.
Anatomical pathology technologists are healthcare science professionals that work in NHS hospital mortuaries (APTs). They also work in non-NHS public mortuaries run by municipal governments.
One of your key duties will be to assist a pathologist with post-mortem exams. Knowing the causes of mortality gives a better knowledge of the disease process and, in some instances when death occurs.
As your abilities and competence rise, so will your degree of involvement and obligations as an APT during the post mortem examination.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- make sure tools are clean and ready for use
- keep accurate records
- track property and samples taken from the deceased
- work closely with other health professionals, funeral services staff and family members
- help train other healthcare professionals.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £19,917 per year.
- Experienced anatomical pathology technicians can earn up to £31,533 per year.
You will typically work 39 to 41 hours per week, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays at short notice
You could work at a mortuary.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice anatomical pathology technician include:
- Level 3 Mortuary technician – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
On an anatomical pathology technician apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- knowledge of biology
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work on your own
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could get a senior position and perform specialised techniques. You could work in specific areas such as forensic pathology.
You could also move into mortuary management.