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Highschool Classes to become a Forensic pathologist?

What classes in Highschool should I take to become a Forensic Pathologist?

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Evan’s Answer

Hello! Medical Student here!

Forensic pathology is a subspecialty in the field of pathology and requires you to attend medical school with a residency in pathology!

I would recommend high school courses in biology, chemistry, environmental science, and anything healthcare-related. My high school even had its own forensic science course! Getting into medical school is a huge endeavor and takes a lot of effort! I recommend trying to take some AP courses during your time in high school as well. This will set you up well for college and for being a competitive applicant for medical school!

Hope this helps
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Kyra
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Hava’s Answer

As Evan said, you have to go to medical school first, then do a pathology residency. If you are sure you want to be a forensic pathologist, you could just train in anatomic pathology, which is 3 years. Most pathologists train in both anatomic and clinical pathology, which is 4 years total. Anatomic pathology is everything to do with autopsy and surgical pathology, which involves looking at tumors and biopsies in the hospital and making the diagnosis for other physicians. In surgical pathology practice, you would work mostly with other doctors, like surgeons and oncologists, to get the right diagnosis and actually provide a lot of input into getting the patient correct treatment. In most hospitals these days, autopsies are rare, but you would do autopsies too. Hospital autopsies are for medical conditions only though, not forensic. Clinical pathology is everything to do with running the lab, making sure blood tests are run correctly, and running the blood bank. In this role, you end up dealing with a lot of hospital administrative issues because the lab serves everyone in the hospital. It's actually pretty interesting but most doctors know nothing about it. It's all about making things run smoothly and avoiding errors.

Forensic pathology, as you know, is about doing autopsies for cause of death for either homicides, suicides or other cases where cause of death is unknown. It is definitely interesting to investigate homicides and to hear what the investigators have to say and put the story together. But a lot of the autopsies are on relatively mundane things like heart attacks and stuff. Also, be prepared for decomposed bodies. This is not a field for the faint of heart or faint of smell. I was really interested in forensic pathology but I couldn't take the smell. You will be cutting open lots of bodies and the other thing you will be doing is testifying in court. Forensic pathology is a two year fellowship, but you might be like me and decide you like other parts of pathology better.

As Evan suggested you need to make sure your grades are good, you go into premed, and you get a great score on the MCAT exam so you can get into medical school. One thing you could do now is volunteer at a hospital, in any role or actually in pathology, or at a medical examiners office, to find out more about what it's like and get something on your resume. Volunteer experience always looks really good and it will help you decide if you like it.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Kyra
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