To work as a pathologist in any of the pathology specialties you need to qualify as a doctor first before going into pathology training. There are several options for a career in pathology. You can work as a pathologist (a doctor who specialises in one of the areas of pathology), a scientist or a laboratory assistant. The different careers require different qualifications.
If you think that a career in pathology might be what you are looking for, talk to the pathologists in your own hospital and find out why they enjoy their work. For further information regarding careers please visit the discover pathology section of our website.
Entry to substantive training programmes leading to the award of the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) is by open competition and there is no scope for doctors to be ‘placed’ into such programmes by the College.
Doctors in such posts must be aware that they will still be subject to the requirements for GMC registration and (where necessary) a work permit. Due to the type of work permit they are likely to acquire, their stay in the UK will be restricted to a maximum of two years.
The College cannot arrange clinical attachments – these must be arranged individually and are offered solely at the discretion of pathology departments with a capacity to accommodate such an arrangement. Feedback received at the College suggests that attachments are very difficult to locate and arrange. There is a specific category in the immigration rules for these posts. A restriction is being introduced on the amount of leave that can be granted specifically to undertake clinical attachments to six weeks at a time, or six months in total.
Doctors who want to practise as substantive, honorary or fixed term consultants in the NHS and have not completed an approved UK training programme must apply for and be entered onto the Specialist Register.
For EEA applicants we would advise that in the first instance you check with the GMC to see if you would be eligible to apply through the Mutual Recognition route. More information can be found on the GMC website. The GMC deals with all applications to this route directly so it is them you would need to liaise with in regards to this.
The Royal College of Pathologists is a professional membership organisation and we do not offer courses or training programmes.
Pathology training in the UK is divided into five main specialties. Each pathology specialty has a curriculum outlining the entry requirements, minimum length of training and requirements for the award of the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).
The Royal College of Pathologists oversees training in Chemical Pathology, Histopathology, Medical Microbiology and Medical Virology. The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) oversees training in haematology and immunology. Doctors seeking information about these specialties should look at the relevant curriculum:
Forensic pathology is a specialised branch of histopathology and those intending to pursue a career in forensic pathology should first train in histopathology after their foundation training. The Foundation Programme is a two-year generic training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.
The eligibility requirements for entry to a forensic histopathology training programme are that you need to have satisfactory completed a UK foundation training programme and followed successful completion of Stages A and B of the histopathology training programme including passes in the Year 1 Histopathology OSPE and Part 1 FRCPath examination i.e. at ST3 level. You can find the person specifications and approved curricula for histopathology and the forensic histopathology curricula on the College website.
All doctors must be appropriately registered with the GMC to practise medicine in the UK. Further information on obtaining registration with the GMC can be found here.
Doctors are required to hold GMC registration to work in an ‘approved practice setting.' Information on this aspect of the registration framework can be found on the GMC approved practice settings page.
All Doctors who want to practise as substantive, honorary or fixed term consultants in the NHS must apply for entry onto the Specialist Register. We also inform doctors who wish to practice as locum consultants that it is advisable to be on the specialist register to take up a locum consultant post and that they need to check with the trust to see what their requirements are.
We normally advise EU doctors who are not on the specialist register to check with the GMC to see if they would be eligible to apply through the Mutual Recognition route. The link with further information on this route is available here.
The GMC deals with all applications to this route directly so it is them you would need to liaise with in regards to this. There is no separate requirement to be registered with the College for this route.
The College launched a new scheme in 2015 called the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) in Pathology. The scheme applies to doctors who have qualified outside the United Kingdom or European Union and who want to come to the UK for a limited period of specialised training in pathology. All applicants will now enter the UK on a Tier 5 visa under the auspices of the Medical Training Initiative (MTI). You can read more about this scheme here on the College website.
The MTI was launched by the Department of Health in 2009 and is designed to allow medical graduates to come to the UK to undertake clinical training in the NHS for a maximum of 24 months before returning to their home country, providing they have the support of the relevant Royal College. The MTI operates under the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE), sub category of the Tier 5 visa category.
The Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) will act as the ‘professional sponsor’ through the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) who is the overarching visa sponsor and is responsible for issuing the Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship, which enables an applicant to apply for their Tier 5 visa. The Certificate of Sponsorship will only be issued if the application is supported by the RCPath. The Tier 5 visa is issued for a maximum 2 year period.
From the point of application it can take up to 6 months to process your appointment in the UK. Please note that we can’t fully comment on your eligibility for this scheme until we receive your application.
Obtaining the documentation in support of your application can take several months and we strongly advise applicants to begin gathering this evidence as soon as possible.
In order to be eligible for the MTI(Path) scheme you must successfully complete the British Council Academic IELTS test. For us to accept your IELTS certificate it must show that you:
Obtained a score of at least 7.0 in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing) with an overall score of 7.5;
Obtained these score in the same test; and
Took the academic version of the test.
IELTS certificates are valid for two years and if your application is successful, it must be valid when the General Medical Council (GMC) approves your application for registration with a license to practise.
More than 8,000 institutions, government agencies, professional associations and other organisations use IELTS for their English language requirements. See the IELTS Global Recognition System for details of specific institutions.
If you can contact IELTS and obtain a screen shot or email from them detailing your score, we can accept this if your certificate is unavailable (deadline applies). Unfortunately we cannot accept anything else if this is not available.
You will be required to send us a copy of the IELTS certificate as soon as it's available.
Unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to apply as IELTS certificates are only valid for two years from the date of issue. If your MTI(Path) application is successful, it must be valid when the General Medical Council (GMC) approves your application for registration with a license to practice.
If you have already been offered a placement you will need to make an application through the College's MTI(Path) Trust route. You can can request an application pack by emailing our MTI Officer (email: email@example.com). In order to be eligible for the MTI(Path) scheme you must successfully meet all the requirements listed in the person specification below.
Applications for our MTI(Path) College route closed on Friday 19 June 2015. If you know that you will require a trainee for Autumn 2016, we would invite you to apply for this now and we will take this into consideration during next year's recruitment round. We would then liase with a suitable candidate in the spring next year to make arrangements for them to begin their post in September 2016.
Yes. We are happy to allow trainees that already have a connection with a certain hospital in the UK to join the scheme. Both the Trainee and the Trust would need to make an application through the College's MTI(Path) Trust route. Application packs can be requested by emailing the College's MTI Officer (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please be aware that it can take up to six months to process a trainee's appointment in the UK.
Since April 2006 the category of ‘permit free training’ has been abolished for international medical graduates. All doctors wishing to work in the UK from outside the European Union who are not in some way exempt from the work permit requirements will need to obtain a work permit in order to take up a postgraduate medical training post.
No. The College’s role is to uphold standards in pathology and work permits are an employment matter. The College cannot arrange a work permit and personnel departments in hospitals and trusts are the contact point for work permit issues.
You are eligible to enter for the FRCPath examination if you are deemed ready to sit the examination by your Educational Supervisor or equivalent and are either in a recognised training programme or have fulfilled the recommended training requirements. Please note that the College does not have a list of recognised training programmes/centres. If you are unsure about applying for an exam please read the relevant curriculum for UK trainees.The exam is written in line with UK training so the curriculum will give you an idea of what is tested. Further information on examination regulations and guidelines are available on the College website.
The written exam lasts six hours and is held from 09:30 (GMT or British Summer Time) to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 16:30. The multiple-choice-question (MCQ) and extended-matching question (EMQ) exams last three hours and are held in the afternoon only, from 13:30 to 16:30. The written exams will take place at overlapping times at international examination centres.
Affiliate membership is open to those working within pathology who wish to be linked with the activities of the College. Examples of those who may wish to affiliate include: clinical scientists, research academics, biomedical scientists, and members of specialist societies. This list is not exhaustive; others working in a pathology discipline may wish to affiliate, and will be welcome to do so, including overseas-qualified pathologists working in the UK.