Employer expectations for newly trained pathologists: Report of a survey from the graduate medical education committee of the college of American pathologists

Miriam D. Post, Kristen Johnson, Mark D. Brissette, Richard Michael Conran, Ronald E. Domen, Robert D. Hoffman, Cindy B. McCloskey, Patricia M. Raciti, Cory Anthony Roberts, Amyn M. Rojiani, J. Allan Tucker, Suzanne Z. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Context.-Multiple sources have identified challenges that training programs face in preparing graduates for the "real world" practice of pathology, and many training programs have sought to decrease the gap between skills acquired during training and those required in practice. However, there exists the possibility that some of the difficulty experienced by newly trained pathologists and employers might arise from differences between employer expectations of new hires and what applicants expect from their first job. Objective.-To define the constellation of skills and attributes employers prioritize when hiring newly trained pathologists. Design.-A survey of fellows of the College of American Pathologists in practice for 5 or more years in the United States was administered and the results were analyzed. Results.-A total of 630 pathologists who were responsible for hiring a new-in-practice pathologist completed the survey. Regardless of practice setting, certain skills and attributes were rated critically important in new hires, including ethics/integrity, work ethic, and professionalism. Seventy-one percent reported having some difficulty hiring entry-level pathologists and cited inadequate training/ experience during residency, and applicants having unrealistic expectations regarding work load/hours as the most common reasons. Conclusions.-Prospective employers not only expect well-developed diagnostic skills in their job applicants, but also require evidence of a strong work ethic and outstanding professionalism. Successful applicants must display willingness to assume responsibilities and flexibility regarding existing and new responsibilities. A secondary but important finding of this survey was that most jobs are garnered through word-of-mouth recommendations; therefore, it is crucial for pathologists-in-training to hone their networking skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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