What Type of Pathologist Makes the Most Money: A Comprehensive Guide

Working in the medical field can be both rewarding and challenging. Pathology, specifically, stands out as an essential part of the healthcare industry, providing vital information for patient diagnosis and treatment. But did you know that not all pathologists earn the same amount of money? In fact, some types of pathology careers earn significantly more money than others.

It’s no secret that healthcare professionals, including pathologists, can earn a decent living. However, certain types of pathologists stand out as the highest earners. For example, dermatopathologists, who specialize in diagnosing skin diseases and cancers, can earn up to $400,000 per year. Furthermore, forensic pathologists, who perform autopsies to determine the cause of death in criminal cases, can earn as much as $500,000 per year.

While the salaries of pathologists vary depending on their specific subfield, one thing’s for sure: pathology is a lucrative career path that can provide a comfortable lifestyle. If you’re considering a career in medicine, it might be wise to research which type of pathologist makes the most money. Who knows, you might find your calling in a particular pathology subfield that not only fulfills your passions but also provides a generous salary.

Highest Paying Pathology Specialties

If you are pursuing a career in pathology, it is essential to know the highest paying specialties in the field. Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases through laboratory tests of bodily fluids, tissues, and organs. While all pathology specialties are rewarding, some are more lucrative than others. Below are some of the highest paying pathology specialties.

  • Forensic Pathology – Forensic pathologists investigate deaths that are suspicious or unexpected, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how someone died. According to payscale.com, the average salary for a forensic pathologist is $204,000 per year.
  • Dermatopathology – Dermatopathologists specialize in diagnosing skin diseases through the examination of skin biopsy samples. According to simplyhired.com, the average salary for a dermatopathologist is $235,000 per year.
  • Hematopathology – Hematopathologists specialize in diagnosing and managing blood-related diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and anemia. According to glassdoor.com, the average salary for a hematopathologist is $195,000 per year.

Forensic Pathology

Forensic Pathology is the highest paying pathology specialty. Forensic pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in performing autopsies and determining the cause of death. They work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies to investigate suspicious deaths and provide expert testimony in criminal court cases.

To become a forensic pathologist, one must have a medical degree and complete a residency in pathology and a fellowship in forensic pathology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical examiners and coroners, including forensic pathologists, is expected to increase by 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary RangeAnnual Salary
$116,000 – $321,000$204,000

Forensic pathology can be a demanding and emotionally taxing profession, but for those who are interested in the field, it can also be highly rewarding both financially and personally.

Factors Affecting Pathologist Salaries

Pathology is a highly specialized medical field that deals with diagnosing and treating diseases through examination of tissues, organs, and body fluids. Pathologists play a crucial role in the healthcare system, which is why they are among the highest paid medical professionals in the industry. However, not all pathologists make the same amount of money. Several factors can influence their salaries.


  • The type of pathology that a pathologist specializes in can have a significant impact on their salary. For instance, pathologists who specialize in dermatopathology or neuropathology tend to earn more than those who specialize in general anatomic pathology.
  • Other high-paying specialties include blood banking, molecular genetic pathology, and forensic pathology.
  • Pathologists who work in research and development can also earn substantial salaries.


The location of a pathologist’s job is another influential factor in determining their salary. Pathologists who work in urban areas tend to earn more than those who work in rural areas. This is because urban areas have a higher demand for medical services, including pathology.

Furthermore, pathologists who work in regions with a higher cost of living, such as New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, tend to earn more than those who work in areas with a lower cost of living.


Experience is another factor that affects a pathologist’s salary. Generally, the more experience a pathologist has, the higher their salary will be. Experienced pathologists have already established their reputation in the industry, and they are often highly sought after by employers.

According to the American Society for Clinical Pathology, pathologists with less than five years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of $193,000 per year, while those with more than 20 years of experience can earn up to $410,000 per year.


Education level is also a determining factor for pathologists’ salaries. Pathologists with higher levels of education, such as those with a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, tend to earn more than those with a Resident or Fellowship degree.

Additionally, pathologists who hold advanced certifications or qualifications, such as board certification, can expect higher salaries than those who do not.

In conclusion, pathologists’ salaries are influenced by various factors. A pathologist’s salary can be affected by their specialization, location, experience, and education level. As a pathologist, it is essential to consider these factors when making career choices in the field.

Comparison of Pathologist Incomes in Different Countries

Pathology is a medical field that deals with the diagnosis of diseases through the examination of body tissues and fluids. Pathologists play a crucial role in patient management, and their work is well compensated in most countries. However, income levels for pathologists vary significantly across different countries, and some factors influence the earning potential of pathologists. In this article, we will examine the salary levels of pathologists in various countries, factors which influence their remuneration, and a comparison of these incomes.

  • Pathologist Incomes in the United States
  • The United States is one of the countries where pathologists earn one of the highest salaries in the world. According to various sources, the average annual income for pathologists ranges between $240,000 and $420,000, depending on their level of experience and specialty. For example, pathologists who specialize in forensic pathology earn an average income of $249,000, while hematopathologists earn an average of $353,000.

  • Pathologist Incomes in the United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom is another country where pathologists earn relatively high salaries compared to other medical professionals. According to the National Health Service (NHS), the average income for a consultant pathologist ranges from £77,913 to £105,042 per year, depending on their experience and specialty. However, pathologists working in the private sector in the UK can earn significantly more than those in the NHS.

  • Pathologist Incomes in Australia and New Zealand
  • Pathologists working in Australia and New Zealand earn relatively high salaries compared to other medical professionals in these countries. According to the Australian Government, the average annual income for pathologists in Australia ranges between AUD 200,000 to AUD 375,000, depending on their experience. In New Zealand, pathologists earn an average salary of NZD 180,000 to NZD 600,000 per year.

Factors that Influence Pathologist Salaries

The earning potential of pathologists is influenced by various factors. Some of these include:

  • Experience – Pathologists with more years of experience tend to earn higher salaries than those with less experience.
  • Specialization – Pathologists who specialize in certain areas such as cytopathology or neuropathology usually earn higher salaries than general pathologists.
  • Location – Pathologists working in major cities or areas with a high demand for their services usually earn higher salaries than those in rural areas.
  • Type of employer – Pathologists working in the private sector or for organizations with larger budgets tend to earn higher salaries than those working in public institutions such as government hospitals and non-profit organizations.

Comparison of Pathologist Salaries Across Different Countries

The table below summarizes the average salaries of pathologists across different countries:

Education Level

Average Annual Salary

Resident/Fellowship$66,000 – $129,000
Doctor of Medicine$200,000 – $430,000
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine$200,000 – $300,000
CountryAnnual Salary (USD)
United States$240,000 – $420,000
United Kingdom£77,913 – £105,042
AustraliaAUD 200,000 – AUD 375,000
New ZealandNZD 180,000 – NZD 600,000

Although pathologist salaries vary significantly across different countries, pathologists are generally well compensated for their work. The specific factors that influence earning potential, such as experience, specialization, location, and type of employer, are worth considering when making choices about one’s career path.

Top Employers for Pathologists with High Salaries

When it comes to earning top salaries in the field of pathology, it’s essential to consider the biggest employers in the industry. The following section outlines the top employers for pathologists with high salaries:

  • Hospitals: Hospitals are one of the primary employers for pathologists, and they offer some of the highest salaries. Pathologists working in hospitals can expect to earn an average salary of $250,000 per year.
  • Research Facilities: Another high-paying employer for pathologists is research facilities. With the constant need for new medical research, research facilities are always on the lookout for experienced pathologists. Salaries for pathologists working in research facilities can range from $200,000 to $300,000 per year.
  • Government Organizations: Pathologists working for government organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can earn an average salary of $250,000 per year. These positions may require additional qualifications, but they often provide excellent benefits and job security.

While the above employers offer high salaries for pathologists, there are also some specialized pathology professions that are highly lucrative:

Hematopathology: Hematopathologists specialize in diagnosing blood diseases and disorders. Hematopathologists can expect to earn an average salary of $300,000 per year.

Type of PathologistAverage Salary
Anatomic Pathology$250,000
Clinical Pathology$250,000

Neuropathology: Neuropathologists are responsible for analyzing and diagnosing diseases of the nervous system. Neuropathologists can earn an average salary of $300,000 per year.

Overall, pathologists who specialize in highly specialized areas, and those who work for larger hospitals, government organizations, and research facilities, are likely to earn the highest salaries in the field.

Importance of Location in Determining Pathologist Wages

When it comes to salaries, location plays a significant role in determining a pathologist’s wages. While the type of pathologist’s job and experience matter, location often turns out to be a key factor. Some states in the US offer higher salaries compared to others due to a variety of reasons, including living costs and demand for pathologists.

  • States with the Highest Pathologist Salaries:
  • 1. California – $202,650/year
  • 2. Rhode Island – $202,050/year
  • 3. Nebraska – $196,180/year
  • 4. Mississippi – $195,820/year
  • 5. Alaska – $195,220/year

As shown above, different states offer different salaries for pathologists. California and Rhode Island are both states where the cost of living is high, leading to higher salaries to adjust for expenses. Moreover, states like Alaska and Mississippi may offer higher wages to attract pathologists to regions with less competition in terms of ability to pay.

Below is a list of some of the lowest-paying states for pathologists:

  • States with the Lowest Pathologist Salaries:
  • 1. Maine – $140,980/year
  • 2. New Hampshire – $153,240/year
  • 3. Montana – $154,750/year
  • 4. Vermont – $159,120/year
  • 5. South Carolina – $164,950/year

Pathologists working in these states earn less due to lower living costs, fewer jobs, less demand, and fewer opportunities for professional growth.

StateAverage Annual Salary
Rhode Island$202,050

Overall, location is a vital aspect that affects pathologist salaries significantly. Factors such as cost of living, market demand, and state policies play a critical role in determining the level of pay offered to a pathologist in a given state or location.

Career Opportunities for Pathologists with Lucrative Packages

Pathologists are physicians specialized in the study of diseases through laboratory analysis of body tissues and fluids. They play an essential role in diagnosing and treating diseases that affect human health. If you’re considering a career in pathology, you might be interested in knowing which type of pathologist earns the most money. Here are some of the most lucrative career opportunities for pathologists:

  • Cytopathologist: A cytopathologist is a pathologist who specializes in the diagnosis of diseases through the analysis of individual cells. Cytopathologists play a crucial role in diagnosing cancer and other diseases by examining cells extracted from various body fluids, such as blood and urine. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a cytopathologist is around $225,000 per year.
  • Hematopathologist: Hematopathologists are pathologists who specialize in the diagnosis of diseases related to blood and bone marrow. They analyze blood samples and perform bone marrow biopsies to diagnose and determine the treatment of various hematologic disorders, including leukemia and lymphoma. According to Medscape’s 2020 Pathologist Compensation Report, hematopathologists earn an average salary of around $323,000 per year.
  • Neuropathologist: A neuropathologist specializes in the diagnosis of diseases related to the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. They analyze brain and nerve tissues to diagnose various neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a neuropathologist is around $216,000 per year.

Private Practice versus Academic Pathology

When it comes to finding a lucrative career as a pathologist, you also have to consider the work environment. Private practice pathology and academic pathology are two different career paths that come with different salary expectations and work demands.

Pathologists in private practice typically have higher earning potentials than academic pathologists due to the ability to take on more cases and negotiate higher fees. On average, private practice pathologists earn around $343,000 per year, while academic pathologists earn around $266,000 per year (Medscape’s 2020 Pathologist Compensation Report).

Pathologist Salary by Geographic Location

Another factor that can affect a pathologist’s earning potential is their geographic location. Pathologists working in urban areas or regions with a high demand for medical services typically earn more than those working in rural or remote areas. Here’s a table showing average pathologist salaries across different US states:

StateAverage Salary
New Hampshire$257,000
New York$279,000

Keep in mind that salaries may also vary by employer, experience, education level, and other factors. Ultimately, the most lucrative career path for a pathologist depends on your interests, skills, and work preferences.

Investing in Education and Certifications for Better Pathologist Salaries

Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and studying diseases through analyzing bodily fluids, tissues, and organs. As in any field of medicine, pathologists’ salaries can vary greatly depending on their level of education, experience, and certifications. If you are considering a pathologist career, here are some education and certification options that can help increase your earning potential.

  • Complete Medical School: The first and most basic step towards becoming a pathologist is earning a medical degree. This is a long and rigorous process that typically takes four years of medical school plus an additional three to seven years of residency training.
  • Specialize in Pathology: Once you’ve completed medical school and residency, you’ll need to complete a fellowship or additional training in pathology to obtain certification from the American Board of Pathology. This certification will qualify you to perform diagnostic and research work in the field of pathology.
  • Acquire Subspecialty Certifications: Subspecialty certifications can further enhance your earning potential in specific areas of pathology such as blood banking/transfusion medicine, cytopathology, dermatopathology, forensic pathology, hematopathology, and neuropathology.

Here are some additional steps you can take to invest in your education and certifications to increase your salary:

  • Participate in Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses: This can help keep you updated on the latest research and developments in the field, which can make you a more valuable asset to your employer.
  • Get Involved in Research: Participating in research projects can help demonstrate your expertise and further enhance your knowledge of the pathology field.
  • Look into Professional Organizations: There are a number of professional organizations in the pathology field, such as the College of American Pathologists and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Joining these organizations and attending their events and conferences can help expand your professional network and stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in the field.

Finally, it’s important to note that different subspecialties of pathology can vary in terms of their salaries. Here is a table showing the median salaries for different subspecialty pathologists, as reported by Payscale.com:

Subspecialty PathologistMedian Salary

Investing in education and certifications can greatly increase your earning potential as a pathologist, and different subspecialties of pathology can also offer varying salaries. Consider these opportunities as you plan your career path in pathology.

FAQs: What Type of Pathologist Makes the Most Money

1. What type of pathologist earns the highest salary?

Of all the types of pathologists, those who specialize in surgical pathology are known to earn the highest salaries. Generally, they earn between $220,000 to $250,000, depending on their expertise and experience.

2. Do pathologists who work in research earn more than others?

Not necessarily. Research pathologists are primarily focused on conducting studies to further the field’s understanding of diseases and their cure. While they may be well-compensated, they typically earn less than those who practice in clinical settings.

3. Are forensic pathologists highly paid?

Forensic pathologists are medical professionals who perform autopsies on subjects who have died from unnatural causes or have unidentified causes of death. They may earn higher salaries, particularly when working in large metropolitan areas. However, their pay varies according to their experience and their affiliation with government or private organizations.

4. Is it true that pathologists working in private practice earn more than those working in hospitals or universities?

Pathologists who practice in private settings can earn significantly higher salaries than those working in hospitals or universities. This is because private pathology practices have more control over their rates and can negotiate with insurance providers and hospitals for favorable reimbursement rates.

5. Do pathologists who specialize in dermatopathology make more money than others?

Dermatopathology is a subspecialty of pathology that focuses on diagnosing diseases of the skin. Although it is considered a highly specialized field, dermatopathologists may not necessarily earn more than other specialist pathologists. Their average salary falls somewhere between $200,000 to $220,000.

6. What other factors affect the salaries of pathologists?

Pathologists’ salaries are influenced by several factors, including their years of experience, subspecialty, geographical location, and the type of institution they work for. Typically, those with a more extensive range of knowledge and experience tend to earn higher salaries.

Closing Thoughts:

Thanks for taking the time to read our FAQs on what type of pathologist makes the most money. As you can see, various factors determine a pathologist’s salary, including their expertise, experience, subspecialty, and geographical location. While surgical pathologists typically earn the highest salaries, dermatopathologists, research pathologists, and forensic pathologists also have the potential to earn decent incomes. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in pathology, it’s a good idea to research the latest salary trends and explore the different subspecialties. Thanks again for reading, and be sure to visit us soon for more informative content.