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Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by steveirisham, Jan 2, 2002.
Would anyone know of a resource (websites) to learn about the job market for pathologists?
Funny that you asked... I just finished a book called, "How to Choose a Medical Specialty," by Anita D. Taylor (ISBN 0-7216-7462-3 to make searching your favorite bookstore site easier!).
Under the Pathology section she lists two groups to contact for Further Information:
1. The College of American Pathologists
325 Waukegan Rd.
Northfield, IL 60093
<a href="http://www.cap.org" target="_blank">http://www.cap.org</a>
The College publishes two monthly lists: "Pathologists Seeking Positions" and "Pathology Positions Available."
2. The American Society of Clinical Pathologists
2100 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60612
<a href="http://www.ascp.org" target="_blank">http://www.ascp.org</a>
They have a JobFinder on their site, too.
Hope this helps!
The CAP site has the most jobs listed but you have to be a member to look. Last i looked there was around 100 positions listed. But, most path jobs are never advertised.
A question that most interests me also. Here's what I've come up with:
Find the report titled: "Residency Training Outcomes by Specialty in 2000 for New York State: A Summary of Responses to the Resident Exit Survey." This is a current, well-executed, state-specific survey which touches on the national market. Try not to cry when you see how pathology compares to the other specialties. The last trends graph is the most optimistic, although admittedly most manipulated. Again it is state-specific so the degree of extrapolation is subject to question.
2. <a href="http://www.ascp.org/member/rps/surveys/jobsurvey98.asp" target="_blank">www.ascp.org/member/rps/surveys/jobsurvey98.asp</a>
Another well-done report, with a national focus. It supports nationally what is found in the NYS path job market.
3. <a href="http://members.tripod.com/~philgmh/CIPJM.html" target="_blank">http://members.tripod.com/~philgmh/CIPJM.html</a>
I think this is voodoo conspiracy theory stuff, but it is often referenced by other sites. I think ( hope ) it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Great Pumpkin and I have also debated/discussed the impact of technology on pathology and other issues. You can dig these up by searching keyword "pathology" on this forum.
Some background... I am a 3rd year who is contemplating path and worries that the job market will not pick up. Honestly my gut feeling is that the market is NOT as bad as all of these reports make it out to be, but I am not sure if this is wishful thinking or not. Also I am not sure how much bearing these statistics will actually have in real life (remember how "impossible" it was to get into med school, right? )
When predicting the economic balance of specialists, one needs to consider not only the supply but the demand as well. The government and many other pundits have lost sight of this fact.
I read this website <a href="http://members.tripod.com/~philgmh/CIPJM.html" target="_blank">http://members.tripod.com/~philgmh/CIPJM.html</a> and I think they may have some faulty assumptions, namely a static biopsy specimen rate. I think with the aging population and increase in cancer, the demand for biopsies and therefore biospy specimens will increase geometrically. Cancer is a disease that tends to occur in the elderly population and potential cancers need to be biopsied for gold standard diagnosis. We will be diagnosing suggested cancer earlier and earlier with advances in imaging and screening. This will decrease the time it takes for a biospy to be performed in ones lifetime. What will be the exact impact I do not know? But, it points to an increase in demand for biospies performed and therefore interpretted by pathologists. My 2cents.
In general, my feeling is that the increase in the proportion of people who are 65+ relative to other ages will be a tremendous boon for 4 main medical areas (in order of new cases): 1) Cardiology, 2) Oncology and 3) Cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular disease. and 4) Orthopaedic/Rheumatologic disease.
There will be so much demand for physicians in these 4 areas and their associated "support physicians" that we will not know where to find them. If anyone reads the 1995? Pew Report on the oversupply of various specialties, you can read how inaccurate the government is in predicting the demand for specialists in the future. Their doom and gloom that all specialists are in oversupply is propaganda used to promote interest in primary care. Take all these doom and gloom reports with a grain of salt.
One last thing, I am not sure about the impact of path-related technology on the efficiency of the pathologist as this may change demand. Someone will have to educate us on that.
On 1) 10-15 years from now? I will be old(er) by then...lol... If this technology is 10-15 years away add another 10 years to the prediction. You will be practicing for 20 years and have enough to retire on if you save and invest wisely.
I don't know, but if it is MR spectroscopy you bet us radiologists will be working on it. There just might not be enough radiologists to do all the work as demand will outstrip supply. So both of us will probably have a hand in it.
2) "Will remain a pathology tool". I think this technology is farther away than you think. Not all cells that have a certain mutation will be cancerous. Precancerous, yes maybe, but enough to diagnose cancer, I'm not convinced. We need to map all the possible mutations and combinations that will clearly distinguish between a cell cancerous vs a precancerous cell. Yes it will be another machine that the pathologist will manage. You may have to re-adapt as a cytopathologist.
3) Let me make a bold statement, even with PET scanning technology, you will not replace the gold standard biopsy for several reasons. 1st) Legal, no radiologists/NM (or referring physician) in their right mind would exclude cancer based upon a PET scan, highly probable/suspiscus yes, but exclude no-way. Try telling a patient that we are not sure, but 95% sure (compared to the gold standard of biopsy) you have cancer. Don't pass go, head straight to biopsy. 2nd) Medical: It will take alot of convincing to rewire referring physicians way of thinking. There is something about a tissue diagnosis/biopsy (not only is it the gold standard) that feels "good/right/reassuring". This psychological deterent may be very strong and underestimated. I have seen this senario play out over and over again with V/Q scans vs Pulmonary Artery CT Angiography. Even though, PA CTA is probably just as good as V/Q scan, much quicker, and can give detailed information about the rest of the thorax (lungs/heart/etc), some referring physicians still INSIST on ordering V/Q scans in the middle of the night.
4) Surgeons performing pathology. Not a good idea. It requires a broad base of training in... pathology. Maybe for a specific disease but not for all surgical specimens. I'd demand a pathologist look at it and I'd pay for it. Not sure about how others feel or if they would even know to ask.
what the hey--i thought I might as well throw my moderatly-uninformed 2 cents into the mix.
I too, like many aspiring pathologists, worry about the job market in path. Yes, it has been the worst specialty in terms of job offers and numbers of "unemployed" pathologists.
I went with these questions to one of the pathologists that does alot of the teaching at our school. He, of course, is interested in shaping med students in his image, so I suspect that he may have been "blowing sunhine up my skirt," but he is of the opinion that the doom and gloom of the path job market is vastly overstated. Yes, things were bad, but "unemployed" pathologists usually find jobs, just maybe not right out of residency and maybe not exactly where one originally intended. Once you have practiced for a few years in some awful place like...arizona (his words!), then one can obtain positions in more desirous locations.
Also, he suggested that things will be getting better in the next 5-10 years, given that the current crop of practicing pathologists are relatively old and will be retiring in increasing numbers.
Also, it seems to me that making decsions now regarding specialty choice based on current job market is a bad idea. Things change, sometimes rapidly. For example, anesthesia currently has a red-hot job market. Med students are realizing this, and I bet this year will see all anesthesia programs pretty much full, which will mean that when they are done with residency, there will be relatively few jobs to go round. I think It's kind of like the stock market--if everyone knows that a particularly stock is a good deal, the demand and the price go up, and the stock is now no longer such a good deal.
About the role of tech in decreasing pathologists roles: although I cannot authoritatively speak to this issue, it would seem to me that the ability of anatomic pathologists to definitively give tissue dx is an immensely powerful tool that will not be discarded easily. And, I suspect that pathologists will be instrumental in developing any tech that would supplement these diagnostic abilities, meaning that the pathologists would still be in control.
One side note to consider is that there is an exponentially increasing knowledge base of the molecular basis of disease. This will undoutedly open vast opportunities for molecular pathologists.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, i'm pretty upbeat about path now, after talking to my professor.
I have been trying to decide about path as a specialty and went to most of the sites listed above. I found the data to be pretty depressing. It seemed like they had a hard time finding work and didn't really get paid very much all things considered. Anecdotal salary and job observations on previous posts were much more encouraging. Does anyone know of more recent studies? Thanks.
Wow what can i add some great discussion and answers. If anything path is one of the specialties that has less to worry about there are no physicain assistants or nurses taking our jobs. The technology is mostly controlled by pathologists anyway and most of the things mentioned are a long ways away from inpacting significantly on the path job market. Bio chips that can quantify the all the mRNA in a cell is the most interesting thing I have heard about. This technology could possibly make microscopic exam outdated one day. But, it is so early that none of us will care. And, pathologists are the ones developing this technology anyway.
As for the job market like I have always said everyone I have met has had no problem finding jobs and I don't know any unemployed pathologists. If nothing else you can do Locum Tenens (temp work all around the country) while looking for the perfect job.
It is not easy to do, but don't worry about the job market just pick the job you love. Things will be fine. We are not in a field (doctors) that is in a decline. Every specialty will have positions for good people.
I'm telling you, this is one of my favorite topics! I'm glad its kicking around!
Okay, if its a list of jobs everyone's looking for try U. of Minnesota's list (national):
<a href="http://pathology.umn.edu/Jobs/PathGopher.html" target="_blank">http://pathology.umn.edu/Jobs/PathGopher.html</a>
Couple of comments (I can't resist!):
1) It is UNDEREMPLOYMENT (rather than unemployment) that bugs me. A couple of case scenarios: Our pathology assistant makes $60K (a decrease from $80K at a NYC cutting factory). Our junior pathologist (granted J1-visa was an issue, but an incredibly hard-working, brilliant guy)makes $90K. Our junior deputy medical examiner (AMG) is a few grand short of $100K.
2. Granted ancillary medical staff (PAs, NPs, techs) can't do the work of anatomic pathologists, **BUT if technology ever replaces the microscope via bio chip, LCM, or whatever, ancillary staff will quickly step up to the plate. This would further augment the managerial role that pathologists (particularly in C.P.) already assume. This technology IS available now. If it is widespread within 10-15 years, it will be the BEGINNING of my career contrary to what Voxel stated above.
3)Okay, finally: supply and demand. The market IS contracted. Residency positions have likewise been cut. Most sources I've read said the field is actually in equilibrium (and 1.6 job offers per resident confirms this.) Technology aside, the trend is toward reference labs and telepathology which will further shrink the job market. I think that pathologists need to actively expand the field (think of how pain management is to anesthesiology). Dr. Becich from Pitt (we have someone at Pitt on this thread, don't we?) is heralding the informatics movement, but its popular support is questionable. Medical quality control is another example of an area that is relatively untapped. Pathologists could make a concerted effort to reinstate the medical autopsy. Or pursue the private autopsy business, check out:
<a href="http://www.1800autopsy.com" target="_blank">www.1800autopsy.com</a>
In the end, what difference does any of this speculation make? I'm clearly already so emotionally involved/obsessed with the field that I am sure it's where I'll (happily) end up! LOL.
Finally for giggles check out:
<a href="http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/fraser.charlton/daylife.html" target="_blank">http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/fraser.charlton/daylife.html</a>
Which technology were you talking about that is already available and has been proven in the literature with its rate of detection vs gold standard biopsy? As for the 10-15 years, that was your orginal comment for one of the technologies mentioned, I just further extended the time frame because the same arguements were made for gene therapy and what do we have to show for it 25 years later? I assume that you are a MS3 and that path residency will probably shorten to 4 years. You can be a practicing pathologist in 5 years. So you have atleast 5 years of practice opportunities before this takes over (10yrs total).
These technologies only address cancer at the moment. Is that correct? How about other diseases related to inflammation, infection, etc that need pathologists to interpret biopsies?
We have a solid pathology department. I can ask around on any technology you want. I'm sure they're abreast of new developments.
You have a passion passion for pathology. It will make you a better pathologist. You will retain things better and be happier on the job. Ok, so you may not be able to get a job in NYC, SF, or LA easily, but do you care? Or do you want to practice pathology. Are you limited geographically? Does your significant other or family have a problem with you moving to get a job?
As for salaries, people on J1 visa are at the mercy of their employers. Working for the government as a medical examiner you will make much less money than people in private practice. Someone give examples of income for partners in private practice pathology groups. You'll see the difference.
Trying to predict the pathology job market is almost as hard as trying to predict the stock market. Only in medicine, some variables are undeniable such as the aging population.
Private practice starting 150s to 170s, partner in three years then 200s to 400s plus depending on the group and location.
Like Voxel said people on J-1 and gov pathologists really get little money compared to private.
And, certain subspecialties within path can make unholy amounts of money.
There is nothing unholy about money. It's neither good nor evil. It's people who can be good or evil and the way they use it.
Thanks all. I went to some of the lists above and the only one that gave salary was a private position in TX and starting was like 125K - or thereabouts and most positions were academic so it was hard to get a "feel" for what was out there.
The salaries quoted by Great Pumpkin are very encouraging. However, based on what I see in ads and other sources, they look almost too good to be true. These numbers look similar to what I see for radiologists. Are these salaries only for rural areas? I am not doubting anyone, but where do these figures come from?
The figures I quote are from talking to other residents/fellows/staff at MCV.
Here is a survey of avg. pay remember that academics and gov jobs somewhat effect these numbers. But, they are not off what i stated.
<a href="http://www.pohly.com/salary_path.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.pohly.com/salary_path.shtml</a>
Better yet, do you want 2000 data instead of 1997?
Go to <a href="http://www.cejka.com" target="_blank">http://www.cejka.com</a> and get the AGMA compensation report base upon 2000's data.
Average Salary: $211,000
Average starting salary: $153,185
Average East Coast sal: $192,477
Average West Coast sal: $223,700
Average South salary: $224,620
Average North salary: $228,462
Hey all! Went to the Cejka site...
24 radiology jobs
1 pathology job...LOL (we can all compete for it!)
okay, my advance apologies, i'm a little cheeky tonight...
I think GP was referring to some cyto and derm path specialists who seem to make a bundle. I haven't seen any thing listed but have "heard/tell" of some good salary offerings in places like the mid-west or Las Vegas.
Personally, I found all the listings above to be pretty depressing. I had expected things to look better by now.
Wow! Didn't think this topic would ever come up on this forum, I've been meaning to ask about job opportunities for some time now. I am very much interested in pathology, it seems that great residencies are always open, but the jobs just are not there. Most people I ask about pathology say that I shouldn't go for it. The truth is, I really see this field being for me. What types of jobs are there? Private corperations or hospitals? Are there opportunities for fellowships out there? Forensic pathology, and Medical Microbiology seem like fields I would like to pursue. Would I be better off going for Infectious Diseases?