Training and development (histopathology)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Training for histopathology is a run-through training from ST1 which normally takes five and a half years.

The length of training for histopathology is provisionally set at five and a half years on the assumption that trainees will be undertaking two out of the three optional training packages, which are three months each plus the minimum histopathology training time of five years. Trainees will confirm at a later stage the number of optional packages that they will undertake.

This includes Parts 1 and 2 examinations leading to Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath).

You will need an interest in pathology which can be demonstrated by:

  • involvement in activities, achievements and scientific meetings relevant to pathology
  • attendance at pathology courses
  • evidence of participation in audit/research projects that are relevant to pathology

The length of training can vary, for example it is possible to train flexibly if you fulfil the criteria for Less than Full Time Training (LTFT).

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for histopathology training.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in histopathology as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

  • You could consider becoming an undergraduate member of:     

    • Royal College of Pathologists  
    • pathological society
    • attend conferences on pathology – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • undertake a placement in pathology
    • undertake a student selected module or project in pathology
    • write an undergraduate essay for the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
    • make contact with a local pathology department and find out how you can get involved
    • aim to get a rotation in pathology
    • try to ensure your e-portfolio has broad clinical experience and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • undertake a relevant research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
    • join the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
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