Pathology assistants are health care professionals who prepare and examine biopsies and body fluid specimens to help doctors diagnose disease, according to Education-Portal.com. They can find work in hospitals and medical laboratories. The average salary for pathology assistants in 2010 was $40,000, reports SimplyHired.com. Several master's degree programs train students to become pathology assistants in two years through classroom instruction and hands-on experiences.

Western Virginia University

Western Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, offers a master’s degree pathologists’ assistant program. The program lasts 24 months. Students during the first year focus on classroom studies and gain hands-on experience in the school’s autopsy suite. During the second year, they complete clinical rotations in a variety of medical facilities. To get into the pathology assistant program, applicants should have bachelor’s degrees in science-related fields such as medical technology or forensic science. Following the program, students can complete the American Society for Clinical Pathology exam to be certified in this field. The pathology assistant program was founded in 2007, and program accreditation comes from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Western Virginia University P.O. Box 6201 Morgantown, WV 26506 304-293-0734 www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/pa

University of Maryland Medical Center

The University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, offers a master’s degree program for aspiring pathologist assistants. Courses in the 22-month program cover topics such as autopsy pathology and systemic pathology, which involves disease processes of organs such as the respiratory, skin and cardiovascular systems. Students also study surgical pathology—or surgical specimen dissection—as well as laboratory management. To remain in the program, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. They additionally must complete clinical experiences at sites such as Johns Hopkins Hospital. The pathology assistant program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The University of Maryland School of Medicine was founded in 1807.

University of Maryland Medical Center Department of Pathology and the Pathologists’ Assistant Program 22 S. Greene St., Room NBW81 Baltimore, MD 21201 410-328-5555 medschool.umaryland.edu/pathology/pa

Indiana University

Indiana University's medical campus in Indianapolis offers a pathologists’ assistant master’s degree program that lasts 22 months. Classes in the program cover subjects such as human physiology, basic histology, infectious microbes and general/clinical pathology. Following the program, students can find work in community hospitals, private labs and medical examiners’ offices. The school prefers program applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in fields such as chemistry, cytotechnology or clinical laboratory science. Indiana University's pathology assistant program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The university was founded in 1820.

Indiana University Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 635 Barnhill Drive, Room A-128 Indianapolis, IN 46202 317-274-4806 medicine.iu.edu/body.cfm?id=8293