A pathologists' assistant (PA) is a health care professional trained to perform pathology services under the supervision of a pathologist, pathologist or coroner. Pathologists' assistants are employed primarily in the field of forensics.
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The majority of a PA's duties involve assisting in gross examination and dissection and preparing lab specimens, such as samples of organ tissue from cadavers.
Training programs for pathologists' assistants are two years long. Medical schools and universities offer these programs.
The majority of pathologists' assistant training programs are two-year master's level programs, with individuals entering into them upon graduating with a bachelor's degree.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers certification for individuals who have successfully completed the PA course of study and passed a comprehensive examination.
As of 2010, Nevada is the only state with a law requiring that pathologists' assistants obtain licensure from the state.
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