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Pathologist salary

CrossCassowary

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How much do pathologists actually make without a PhD?
I went into vet school wanting to be an anatomic pathologist, but now that it's time to apply, I'm having cold feet because I'm worried about finances. I have ~250k debt. I want to be able to pay back my student loans and start living life and maybe have a family... The salary estimates online are pretty abysmal looking, quoting $70-118k. The ACVP 2016 report shows that the highest number of responses was in the $100-110k range. On the other hand, a couple of pathologists I met said you can make $200k straight out of residency (they were older and also had PhDs). Does anyone have real world reports on salaries?
 
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JaynaAli

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I’m a clinical pathologist without a PhD. The ACVP survey you mention is realistic. The places I interviewed at for clinical instructors or clinical track faculty seemed to be in the $85-110k depending on the position. I ended up going into diagnostics and make the higher end of that range as a newly boarded person. I have some opportunity to take on extra cases for extra money but that isn’t a large amount of income for me. The only pathologists I personally know making anywhere near 200k right out of residency are either in very high cost of living areas, do lots of extra cases or side gigs, or they are pathologists in industry (especially in contract research organizations). So yeah, among specialties, path is definitely one of the, if not THE, worst paying for the amount of training we have. But I make enough to live on and have great work life balance so for me it’s worth it.
 
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WhtsThFrequency

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I’m an anatomic pathologist with a PhD, and I make a bit over 115k in academia as a new-ish assistant professor. I have around 200k of debt currently. You can definitely find higher salaries in some industry jobs and in higher COL areas. But like Jayna says, my work life balance is excellent and that counts for a lot.
 
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CrossCassowary

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Thanks everyone for your replies and honesty. I had no idea this was the actual financial state of things for path. Going into vet school, even the dean was telling us "if you want to make a lot of money, do path" (not that money was ever a primary motivating factor, I just like looking at cells and doing necropsies!) I'm not sure where this overall impression is coming from.

I’m an anatomic pathologist with a PhD, and I make a bit over 115k in academia as a new-ish assistant professor. I have around 200k of debt currently. You can definitely find higher salaries in some industry jobs and in higher COL areas. But like Jayna says, my work life balance is excellent and that counts for a lot.

If you don't mind me asking, how is it managing that debt with your salary?

The work-life balance thing was also a huge draw for me. Is this to say that higher paying jobs in industry have poor work-life balance?

The pathologist I mentioned earlier is from SF in California and contracts for biotech companies and CROs (industry), so that makes sense about his enthusiasm. I helped him when he contracted with my CRO and he mentored/encouraged me to go into pathology. I always assumed that I would go back into industry and do diagnostic work (which I really enjoy) on the side... making big decisions is so hard!
 
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WhtsThFrequency

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I do income based repayment, so it’s manageable. Aiming for PSLF. Sure I could pay it off quicker throwing all my dough at it, but that would be ten more years of living like student....and at 36, I ain’t doing that. Just tired of it tbh. Even if PSLF falls thru somehow and I end up doing traditional IBR for 20 years or whatever and end up paying “more” than my original loan, in my mind it will be worth it to be able to afford “life things”. I don’t want to have to wait until I’m 45+ to be able to afford a nice vacation or a downpayment on a house or buy quality food, etc.

Industry has never really been a big draw for me because it’s so heavy into grading slides and tox path, neither of which interest me. I like the variety in diagnostics and academics. Sure I could make more money reading out hundreds of rat colons or mouse kidneys every day, but I don’t think I’d feel very intellectually stimulated (then again, my PhD totally burned me out on research as a career anyways). Plus I love teaching, and would miss it sorely in industry.

Optho seems to be where the real money is. That and ortho surg and neuro.

That being said...I LOVE my specialty. We’re so versatile. I would choose it again in a heartbeat.
 
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CrossCassowary

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I do income based repayment, so it’s manageable. Aiming for PSLF. Sure I could pay it off quicker throwing all my dough at it, but that would be ten more years of living like student....and at 36, I ain’t doing that. Just tired of it tbh. Even if PSLF falls thru somehow and I end up doing traditional IBR for 20 years or whatever and end up paying “more” than my original loan, in my mind it will be worth it to be able to afford “life things”. I don’t want to have to wait until I’m 45+ to be able to afford a nice vacation or a downpayment on a house or buy quality food, etc.

Industry has never really been a big draw for me because it’s so heavy into grading slides and tox path, neither of which interest me. I like the variety in diagnostics and academics. Sure I could make more money reading out hundreds of rat colons or mouse kidneys every day, but I don’t think I’d feel very intellectually stimulated (then again, my PhD totally burned me out on research as a career anyways). Plus I love teaching, and would miss it sorely in industry.

Optho seems to be where the real money is. That and ortho surg and neuro.

That being said...I LOVE my specialty. We’re so versatile. I would choose it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for the honest answer. I feel you on the not wanting to wait until I'm old to enjoy life! I'm older than your average student which is why I also want to get moving on finances. But you can't put a price on doing what you love! So I guess I gotta choose what I love :)
 
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artpack359

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I’m a clinical pathologist without a PhD. The ACVP survey you mention is realistic. The places I interviewed at for clinical instructors or clinical track faculty seemed to be in the $85-110k depending on the position. I ended up going into diagnostics and make the higher end of that range as a newly boarded person. I have some opportunity to take on extra cases for extra money but that isn’t a large amount of income for me. The only pathologists I personally know making anywhere near 200k right out of residency are either in very high cost of living areas, do lots of extra cases or side gigs, or they are pathologists in industry (especially in contract research organizations). So yeah, among specialties, path is definitely one of the, if not THE, worst paying for the amount of training we have. But I make enough to live on and have great work life balance so for me it’s worth it.
Can you post a link to the ACVP survey you mentioned?
 
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JaynaAli

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Can you post a link to the ACVP survey you mentioned?
It’s in the members only section of the ACVP website under documents, so not something I can just send a link for. I don’t know where CrossCassowary found it...maybe it’s visible to student members?
 
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