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DD wants to become a pathologist, does she have to be a 'normal' doctor first?

(29 Posts)
DietMalona Fri 19-May-17 16:51:41

DD has been working in a funeral home since she was 18 - she failed her AS-Levels and then failed them again, so that's why. She has now decided her dream would be to be a pathologist. If all else fails, a pathologist assistant. She is starting college in September to do a science access course.

Basically if anyone can offer advice that would be great.

reallyanotherone Fri 19-May-17 16:53:34

Yes, you need to be a "normal dr"

There's an old medical joke about how they don't let you anywhere near dead people until you a a great dr of live people.

It's a tough specialty.

ILookedintheWater Fri 19-May-17 16:59:54

Consultants know lots and do little.
GPs know little but do lots.
Pathologists know everything and do everything but do it a week too late.
If she's struggled with AS it isn't likely she'll cope with medical school. Are there any other disciplines she might be interested in along the same vein? Clinical pathology, histology, forensic science for example?

ShinyTamatoa Fri 19-May-17 17:01:02

Yes you need to become a doctor first. And then become a consultant pathologist.

There are plenty of other routes in the pathology labs though, assistant practitioner would be a good idea?

ILookedintheWater Fri 19-May-17 17:01:48

or this?

DietMalona Fri 19-May-17 17:03:07

Yes, she'd also love clinical pathology, is that easier?

Fluffyears Fri 19-May-17 17:05:28

She should maybe look into forensic science. She needs to get into uni so needs a-levels if she wants to be a pathologist and they usually ask for at least AAAB

Empireoftheclouds Fri 19-May-17 17:05:53

Is there a reason for her failing her exams twice? Becaus if it's simply that she wasn't capable then I think pathology is out of her reach

DietMalona Fri 19-May-17 17:06:04

@Fluffyears no, she can get in with an access course.

She doesn't want to do forensics as they usually require police background.

ILookedintheWater Fri 19-May-17 17:08:56 She could be a BMS (clinical pathologist) with a science degree and 2 years pre-registration training,.

ILookedintheWater Fri 19-May-17 17:11:23

She will not get on a medical course with only the access course. Honestly.
She needs to do some research into the kind of things she is interested in and what qualifications she needs to do those.

reallyanotherone Fri 19-May-17 17:16:03

Scenes of crime and forensics haven't required a police background for years. They do generally require a science degree. One of my graduating class got a soc job straight out of uni back in 1997, no police background. Although neither job are "csi" dramatic, a lot more grunt work and far less bodies.

It sounds like her grasp of careers and career path isn't what it should be. Has she tried a careers advisor or someone who can help her? A good plan is to ring the place she's interested in and ask if she can go in and observe/speak to staff.

brasty Fri 19-May-17 17:26:04

Forensics is way over subscribed as a career. Since CSI the number of people coming out with forensics qualifications way surpasses positions available.

sassymuffin Fri 19-May-17 17:26:39

It is incredibly difficult to gain entry on medicine courses DD's friend failed to get in first time with strait A*'s at GCSE and A*A*AA at A level because her work experience wasn't varied enough. After a year working in care homes, at an oncology unit and shadowing a GP for two weeks she was successful second time around.

Medics have an large workload at University and as such the entry requirements are difficult.

This link gives a good indication of what is needed

sassymuffin Fri 19-May-17 17:27:39


cakesonatrain Fri 19-May-17 17:30:55

And once you get qualified, the RCPath exams are evil.

Does she understand that much of the medical speciality of pathology is not about dead people? It's mostly looking down a microscope at pink blobs.

Empireoftheclouds Fri 19-May-17 17:33:01

Even if she could get in with an access course, would she cope with the level of work given that she has twice failed AS?

HotelEuphoria Fri 19-May-17 17:38:44

Don't read if easily upset:

The reality is also deeply distressing to lots of people.

DS did forensics at uni and attended a post mortem. He is fascinated by all such things but even he was deeply moved by the sights and smells of young man a similar age to himself with a noose still round his neck that was sliced open on the table.

Apologies to anyone that this may upset.

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Fri 19-May-17 17:39:12

OU do a couple of forensic type courses to get a taster. I did one and hit the intense science part and realised it wasn't for me. To got into medical school I think she'd also need strong GCSE science, english, maths, and probably wouldn't get in on an access course.

C0RAL Fri 19-May-17 17:48:01

I know someone who runs a forensics company and they only hire people with masters degrees. It's very competitive.

imsorryiasked Fri 19-May-17 17:52:46

As she's already working in an undertakers, and has an interest in anatomy would she consider becoming an embalmer?
There is a real demand for them (and it's nothing like you see in the movies), and there are specialists who also do reconstruction work etc when people have not died a peaceful death.

FrenchMartiniTime Fri 19-May-17 17:57:40

Sorry OP but it's coming accross that your daughter wants to have a career without putting the hard work in.

If she's failed her AS levels it's highly unlikely she'll go on to become a doctor. She knows that a college certificate won't make her a Dr?

If she wants this career it's all or nothing. Nothing will make it "easier" as you suggested.

I think you're both being a bit over ambitious.

isletsoffrangipane Fri 19-May-17 17:58:55

She will not get on a medical course with only the access course. Honestly.

This is not true.

There are 2-3 Access to Medicine courses in the UK and about half of UK medical schools accept applications from them.

I got four offers for medicine after doing A2M. I failed my AS Levels and my highest qualification was in art and design.

If her dream is pathology, she should get work experience to find out what it's really like, then plan plan plan for a med school application. And have a back-up in case it doesn't work out.

isletsoffrangipane Fri 19-May-17 18:01:05

By the way OP, when I left school my head of year said I'd never go to university. It didn't stop me getting to where I wanted to be.

Don't let people on a forum turn you off something. You might as well try and fail, at least you'll know you pursued every avenue.

caoraich Fri 19-May-17 18:03:45

Hi there, I'm a doctor- not a pathologist- but my best friend is one. Here's the general course to get into pathology

1. A levels, minimum AAA* usually. Alternatively a minimum of a 2:1 in an undergraduate sciences degree. Some universities do an additional entry year for those from deprived backgrounds with lower A level results or other qualifications.
2. 5 years at medical school
3. 2 years foundation training post-medical school (this is paid and used to be known as "house officer" jobs). These are in a selection of specialties, always including surgery, general medicine and often general practice. A few opportunities for pathology rotations at this stage.
4. During house officer jobs, would be expected to sit relevant post-graduate exams
5. Decide which field of pathology she was interested in and apply for that as specialty - options include histopath and combined micro training. The first one allows entry immediately after foundation training, combined micro training needs three further years in a "core" medical specialty training programme before entry.
6. Continue training in selected specialty (5-8 years) and sit relevant postgraduate exams.
7. Qualify as consultant pathologist.

Overall from passing A levels this takes minimum of 12 years though more usually 15-18 years as most doctors take time during training to pursue a PhD/Master's/Teaching qualification and many don't get into their preferred field in their preferred area the first time round.
Consultant pay starts at £76k with an increase after a few years. Junior doctor pay starts at £26k and gradually increases as training progresses (this may have changed down South now- I'm not sure as I'm in Scotland)

There are very few pathologists who only deal with autopsies etc. Most people who die aren't autopsied and although yes there are murders, the numbers UK-wide aren't high and one pathologist would probably deal with a murder, suicide or other suspicious death every weeks at most. Other parts of the job include diagnosis of samples and biopsies from surgery- my pathologist friend mainly deals with diagnosis of cancer from biopsies.

There are other routes into working with pathologists, though. An anatomical pathology technician might be something your DD would be interested in- here's a link
Training for this is 2 years and entry requirements are GCSEs.

Sorry that was a long post! Hope it helps and good luck to your DD

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