How To Become A Forensic Pathologist

Forensic Pathologist

The Job

Forensic pathology is a specialist branch of histopathology, which is the microscopic examination of cells and tissues to diagnose diseases or the cause of death. Forensic pathologists, or medical examiners, are investigate the cause and/or manner of death, particularly where there are legal or medical implications, such as suspected murder, suicide or where the specific cause of death is unknown. As well as having expert knowledge of pathology and human diseases, forensic pathologists may have specialist knowledge of toxicology, DNA technology, ballistics (firearms), blood analysis and identifying trace evidence.

Annual Salary

Forensic Pathologist Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - 6

Minimum Qualifications

University Level (medical degree) plus a professional qualification.

Recommended Qualifications

Forensic pathology is a highly specialist and skilled branch of pathology, requiring many years of training. During your training you will earn a basic salary, which rises as your knowledge and experience increases. Your initial training could be as a doctor, biomedical scientist or clinical scientist, each of which usually takes five years. Following graduation from medical school, you must undertake training is histopathology, which includes a two-year Foundation Programme plus three or more years of postgraduate study. Training in forensic pathology will begin two to three years into your histopathology course.

Useful websites:

The Royal College of Pathologists
Histopathology - NHS Medical Careers

Average Working Hours Per Week = 35+


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

10 years

What Next/Career Development

Following your initial Foundation Programme, you will take specialist courses to increase your knowledge and experience. You could eventually become a consultant, which is a senior role within the medical profession, that usually involves leading teams along with some teaching and training.

Facts And Figures

•Pathology is involved in 70% of all diagnoses made in the NHS.
•There are 19 different pathology specialities, each of which has its own training and exams.
•Many millions of pathology tests are carried out each year - 14 for every woman, man and child in the country.