Anatomical Pathology Technician

Job Description:

Anatomical pathology technicians (APTs) help pathologists examine a body to work out the cause of death.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As an Anatomical Pathology Technician, you could:

  • Make sure tools are clean and ready for use
  • Keep accurate records
  • Track property and samples taken from the deceased
  • Work closely with other health professionals, funeral
  • Services staff and family members
  • Help train other healthcare professionals
  • During an exam of a body, how much you’ll help will depend on your experience.

As well as:

  • Take tissue samples
  • Help remove organs
  • Take samples for lab analysis
  • Record the findings
  • Help clean the body


You’ll need:

  • Knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • Knowledge of biology
  • To be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • The ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • The ability to work well with your hands
  • To be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • The ability to work on your own (drive)
  • The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

While specific GCSE subjects may not be strict prerequisites for becoming an APT, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for understanding the medical field and developing skills relevant to the role. Here are some GCSE subjects that could be helpful:

  1. Biology: A strong understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and biology is essential for working with tissue samples and assisting in the post-mortem process.
  2. Chemistry: Basic knowledge of chemistry can be useful for understanding the chemical processes involved in tissue preservation and analysis.
  3. Mathematics: Math skills are important for measurements, calculations, and ensuring accurate documentation of samples.
  4. Health and Social Care: This subject can provide insights into healthcare ethics, patient care, and professionalism, which are important aspects of an APT’s role.
  5. Physics: Some understanding of physics principles can be helpful for comprehending the physical properties of tissues and handling technical equipment.
  6. Design and Technology: Practical skills learned in this subject could be beneficial for tasks involving equipment maintenance and operating specialized instruments.
  7. English: Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are important for recording accurate information and communicating with other healthcare professionals.

It’s important to note that while these GCSE subjects can provide a foundation, becoming an APT typically involves higher education and specialized training. In many cases, individuals interested in this career path pursue further education, such as a diploma, degree, or certification program in anatomical pathology technology or a related field.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 39-41 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays.

You could work at a mortuary. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could:

  • Get a senior position and perform specialised techniques.
  • Work in specific areas such as forensic pathology.
  • Move into mortuary management.