Pathologists' Assistant Day

Pathologists' Assistant Day is observed next on Monday, April 14th, 2025 (296 days from today).

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April 14 is Pathologists' Assistant Day. If we are honest, we must admit that often PAs do not receive the recognition they deserve for the important role they play in the pathology laboratory.

Every year, there is a day to honor Pathologists' Assistant and their essential work to support accurate diagnosis and improve patient care; it is called Pathologists' Assistant Day.

What is Pathologists' Assistant?

An assistant pathologist (PA) is a trained health professional who provides various services under the direction and supervision of a pathologist. Southeastern Pathological Associations Sanctuaries are academically and practically trained to provide accurate and timely handling of laboratory specimens.

How to become a Pathologists' Assistant?

Pathologists’ assistants are the extension of physicians working in forensic and surgical pathology laboratories. They work under the direct supervision of a pathologist or other physician, although they often work independently. Day-to-day tasks include performing autopsies and autopsies, preparing samples for examination or laboratory testing, photographing specimens, participating in research, and writing detailed reports on medical conditions.

Pathologists' Assistant must be detail-oriented, work well under high pressure and follow with the utmost precision. To work in the field, aspiring pathologists' assistants must have a master's degree in science, health science, or biomedical science from a National Accreditation Agency accredited program. Associate in Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).

Due to a shortage of doctors and an aging population requiring additional medical care, there is a high demand for physician assistants. The BLS estimates that there will be a 31% increase in employment for physician-expanding people, such as pathologist assistants, between 2019 and 2029.

Have to go through 5 steps to become a Pathologists' Assistant –Education & Experience

Step 1: Have high school graduation (4 years)

The first basic requirement is that you need to have a high school diploma. Classes such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology will help prepare students for further studies. Students should take as many advanced placement classes as possible as this can help boost college applications and provide college credit in high school and help prepare students for the rigors of university subjects.

Step 2: Have a bachelor’s degree (4 years)

The next step to becoming a pathologist's assistant is completing a bachelor's degree. Students can pursue a variety of majors, including chemistry, pre-medicine, biology or health sciences. Pathologist assistant programs require students to complete prerequisite courses, so students must ensure that they take the appropriate classes. Students can learn about what courses are required by contacting prospective pathologists' assistant programs.

In addition to the compulsory courses, many PAs programs require to be autopsy observers or shadow specialists. Master's degrees in this field are very competitive, so students should strive to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to get higher.

Step 3: Complete a graduate degree

A pathologist's assistant must have completed a two-year master of science in pathologist assistant or a master's degree in health sciences with a pathologist's assistant specialty. Students should ensure the program they attend is accredited by the NAACLS, as this is required for certification. At present, the US and Canada have only 12 programs. Most programs have relatively small groups of just six to 14 students.

The first year of most programs includes classroom courses where students learn the skills necessary to become a pathologist's assistant. The second year is courses of intensive clinical rotation, a chance for students to apply their classroom learning to real.

Step 4: Obtain ASCP certification

Graduates of the NAACLS-accredited program are eligible for a pathology assistant (PA) credential through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). This exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in two and a half hours. The cost to register for this exam is $530. Topics covered in this exam include:

  • Pathology basics
  • Pathological techniques
  • Anatomy
  • Pathological Anatomy of Cadets
  • Operation Lab

To prepare for the exam, here are some suggested study outlines:

  • Pathology Fundamentals: The Medical Course and Step 1 Assessment, 2020 edition of H.A. Satan, (2020)
  • Autopsy Pathology: A Manual and Atlas (3rd ed.) by A.J. Connolly et al. (2016)
  • Fischbach's A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests (10th edition) by F.T. Fischbach and M.A. Fischbach (2018)
  • The General Handbook of Pathology: A Guide to Descriptive Terms (1st edition) by C. Horn and C. Naugler (2014).

Step 5: Obtain state licensing if required

There are some states that require a pathologist's assistant to be licensed to practice. Some licensing requirements classify a pathologist's assistant as a laboratory worker. Since licensing requirements are not always clear, a pathologist's assistant should contact their local licensing board to ensure they have the necessary degrees and certifications.

History of Pathologists' Assistant Day

On April 14th in 1972, the founders of the American Association of Pathologists Assistant submitted the establishment. The purpose of the establishment of this Association as stated in the Articles remains true to this day: “This association was established to promote the mutual association of trained pathologists, to bring about interests and further for that profession, including promoting ethical behavior in that profession, to enhance the education of pathologist assistants, to inform the public and the health sector about the purposes of a professional pathologist's assistant, and to fulfill the foregoing incidental other purposes. ”

Since its founding with our five founding fathers, AAPA has grown and grown and today has over 2,100 strong members. It's incredible to think about how much time and energy our volunteer members have spent over 49 years advocating for the PA profession!

How to celebrate Pathologists' Assistant Day

  • Follow and post to the PA Day Blog, and upload photos to the PA Day Gallery.
  • Share photos and updates to the Members Community feed directly through our members’ app!
  • Stay connected by using the hashtags #PathassistDay and #TheAAPADifference, and start sharing your thoughts on social media!

Find items with the PA Day logo in the AAPA store. These are great gifts - showing appreciation to all PAs who provide quality patient care every day! Looking for all AAPA logo items?


Pathologists' Assistant Day has been observed annually on April 14th.


Friday, April 14th, 2023

Sunday, April 14th, 2024

Monday, April 14th, 2025

Tuesday, April 14th, 2026

Wednesday, April 14th, 2027

Also on Monday, April 14th, 2025

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