Student Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program are designed to ensure that students graduate and are competent in all areas of the Pathologists’ Assistant Scope of Practice outlined by the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants and in all standards set forth by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Pathologists’ Assistant Program Outcomes: Surgical Pathology

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to perform the appropriate techniques for the preparation, gross description, and dissection of surgical pathology specimens including, but not limited to, the following tasks:


  • Performance of and verification of proper specimen collection and accessioning
  • Direction of specimen collection and triaging
  • Assurance of proper specimen handling prior to processing
  • Review of pertinent clinical history including pathology and laboratory results, imaging, and operative reports
  • Discussion of surgical pathology cases and patient history with pathologists, clinicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals


  • Performance of the macroscopic description and dissection of surgical pathology specimens of all complexities including all pertinent macroscopic information necessary for cancer staging
  • Performance of special surgical pathology procedures including decalcification, frozen sections, intraoperative consultation for gross analysis, muscle biopsy preparation, renal biopsy assessment, bone marrow aspirate and biopsy preparation, touch preparations, fine needle aspirate preparations, tumor mapping, bone saw operation, and band saw operation
  • Preparation and submission of tissue sections for light microscopy
  • Preparation and submission of tissue for ancillary studies including tumor triage, lymphoma protocol, flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, microbiologic analysis, cytogenetic analysis, tissue banking and clinical trials, research, and electron microscopy
  • Completion of imaging of surgical pathology specimens including gross specimen photography, photomicrography, and specimen radiography


  • Performance of microscopic triage of surgical pathology cases for quality control and quality assurance
  • Verification and editing of CPT codes to ensure accuracy
  • Assurance of proper storage and disposal of surgical pathology specimens
  • Performance of administrative maintenance of surgical pathology reports and data
  • Organization and coordination of material for anatomic pathology conferences and interdisciplinary tumor board conferences

Pathologists’ Assistant Program Outcomes: Autopsy Pathology

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to perform adult, neonatal/perinatal, pediatric, and forensic postmortem examinations including, but not limited to, the following tasks:


  • Verification of proper autopsy authorization, permission, and release of body documentation
  • Review of patient medical records to determine a clinical history and potential findings
  • Discussion of the clinical history with the pathologist and clinical team to identify any special techniques to be utilized in the completion of the postmortem examination such as microbial studies, molecular analysis, PCR analysis, immunofluorescence, toxicology, or electron microscopy
  • Notification of the decedent’s physician, funeral home arrangement provider, and any other involved appropriate authorities prior to the autopsy and coordination of any special specimen sampling


  • Performance of external examination, in situ organ inspection, and appropriate evisceration techniques
  • Dissection and dictation of data including all pertinent macroscopic anatomic findings
  • Selection, preparation, and submission of appropriate and sufficient tissue samples for histologic analysis and ancillary studies
  • Selection and performance of appropriate case-dependent special evisceration techniques and dissection procedures
  • Performance of any relevant imaging including photomacrography, photomicrography, image analysis, and radiography
  • Preparation of autopsy reports including clinical history, provisional anatomic diagnosis, macroscopic description, and final summary with clinical pathologic correlation


  • Preparation of the body for release to the appropriate mortuary or funeral home representative
  • Organization and coordination of material for anatomic pathology conferences
  • Assurance of proper maintenance of equipment and provision of adequate supplies

Pathologists’ Assistant Program Outcomes: Educational and Administrative Tasks

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to perform educational and administrative tasks in laboratory operations including, but not limited to, the following tasks:


  • Education and training of pathology residents, new employees, students, and technical staff
  • Performance of formal evaluation of pathology residents
  • Education and training of hospital staff on best practices in pathology including proper specimen collection, processing, and triage
  • Presentation of material at conferences and Grand Rounds
  • Education of community members about pathology and laboratory medicine
  • Participation in professional organizations


  • Development of Institutional Review Board (IRB) proposals
  • Coordination of tissue banking including consent, review of protocols, tissue collection, storage, and release


  • Application of laboratory safety governmental regulations and standards as applied to anatomic pathology including monitoring of compliance with safety regulatory agencies
  • Participation in safety training

Quality Improvement, Regulatory, and Management

  • Preparation and maintenance of quality assurance monitors and participation in quality assurance improvement activities
  • Preparation for laboratory accreditation inspection
  • Preparation and maintenance of policy and procedure manuals
  • Additional laboratory management duties as appropriate

Pathologists’ Assistant Program Outcomes: Leadership and Advocacy

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Provide leadership in a laboratory setting and promote and facilitate workplace productivity and efficiency
  • Advocate for the pathologists’ assistant profession by demonstrating respect and compassion for all patients and educating the public in the practice of surgical pathology and autopsy pathology.