Pre-Pathologists' Assistant at WSU
A Pathologists' Assistant, also known as a PA, is an allied health professional who works under the direct supervision of a pathologist. Pathologists' Assistants interact with pathologists in the same way a physician assistant works with a physician. As described by the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants, "PAs are academically and practically trained to provide accurate and timely processing of a variety of laboratory specimens, including the majority of pathological specimens." Much of the work that PAs engage in do not directly involve patients. Instead, PAs work behind the scenes to process and evaluate specimen samples, provide specimen collection guidance, imaging of specimens, develop clinical histories, assist in diagnosis, prepare, and perform autopsies and compile reports. PAs typically work in one of two areas: surgical pathology and autopsy pathology.
To work as a pathologists' assistant, one must earn a master's degree from an accredited program and then take a certification exam. There are only 15 accredited programs in North America. To learn more about program prerequisites, please visit the Academics page.
WSU students preparing to apply to a PA program who would like to receive communications, services, and support of the PMHSC can elect to join our pre-path assistant database. This database assigns students a pre-PAA attribute code which also allows the PMHSC to track our pre-pathologists assistant population and develop support programs that will enhance students success.