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Too Many Positions, Not Enough Pathologists. How Does That Affect Your Pathologist Job Search?

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) states that one of the most common myths about pathology is that it is a specialty with no jobs availability. While this may have been true in the past, open positions have steadily increased since 2018 and accelerated in 2020. Today, the pathologist job market has more openings than at any time in the past 20 years. In their article on "Strong Job Market for Pathologists," the authors predict that soon we could reasonably expect demand for 700 pathologists per year. And this number may be underestimated.

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What caused the surge in job openings? The answer is threefold:

  • Pathologists retired and left the profession during the COVID-19 shutdown.
  • When shutdown restrictions eased, physicians began seeing more patients and collecting more specimens, leading to increased testing demand.
  • There are fewer pathology residents. Less than 600 new pathologists enter practice in the United States each year.

This increase in demand for pathologists paired with fewer pathology residents has created an imbalance that has changed pathologist job market dynamics. And we don’t see this changing in the foreseeable future.

Here are four expert tips for succeeding in your pathologist job search.

#1 – Assess the Pathologist Job Market

Although several pathology positions don’t require sub-specialty training (270 openings), the College of American Pathologists provides a breakdown of the current pathologist job market in the United States. The following sub-specialties are highest in demand:

  • Cytopathology (148)
  • Hematopathology (138)
  • Breast (92)
  • GI/liver (91)
  • Gynecologic (88)
  • GU (60)
  • Dermatopathology (59)
  • Head and neck (53)
  • Molecular (53)
  • Transfusion medicine (42)
  • Pulmonary/cardiovascular (41)

#2 – Expand Your Job Search

Today’s pathologist profession has evolved. A growing proportion of pathology work – like anatomic pathology – can be done virtually through fully digital pathology systems. The booming market for pathologists gives candidates other options, like leaving areas where the cost of living is high and moving to places where your money goes further.

#3 – Craft the Perfect CV & Practice Interview Techniques

Before landing an interview, crafting a stellar CV with a cover letter is vital. Also, practicing your answers to common interview questions can help prevent stumbles and missteps. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. While the hiring company is deciding if you are a good fit for the position, you are deciding if you want to work for them at the same time.

For additional advice on these topics, see the following articles:

#4 – Look at the Benefits Package

Because demand for pathologists is outpacing supply, employers are offering highly-competitive compensation and benefits packages. Many are offering:

  • Work-life balance that prioritizes quality of life
  • Equitable and competitive salaries
  • A caring environment with more time off
  • Computer-assisted technology to increase productivity
  • A quick interview process

Before accepting a position, make sure the benefits meet your needs and negotiate if they don’t.

Rely on an Experienced Recruitment Agency

Santè Consulting is an industry leader specializing in the recruitment and retention of pathologists, PhD/doctoral candidates, and laboratory medicine executives. For more than 30 years, we’ve provided candidates with career guidance for landing the job they want.

Whether you’re searching for your first physician pathologist job or feeling ready to make your next career step in this specialty, Santè Consulting is here to help. Contact us today. All consultations are confidential. Our services are paid for by the hiring entity, not by you as the candidate.

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