Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

In our opinion the Pathology Job Market is still terrible. In the most recent ASCP Resident Survey (from 1998) 30% of graduates had no job offer. The 1996 ASCP Resident Survey showed 49% of recent Pathology graduates with no job offer. These numbers incude those who have no job and those who went into Fellowships because no Attending level positions were available. These surveys show a much higher underemployment rate than the JAMA survey which showed 10.8% unemployment in recent Pathology graduates. This information is available on the internet at the following addresses:

Secondly, if one checks the CAP positions listing service at

As of 01/15/2001, the total number of Pathologists Seeking Positions is 184 and the total number of Positions Available is 116 for a ratio of 1.59 job seekers per job. Many of the Positions Available ads are dated so the true ratio may be higher.

There are a few things that we would like to clarify:

The Story: The Pathology job market has improved in the past 5 years.

The Reality: In 1996 about 49% of graduating residents had no job offer. In 1998 only 30% had no job offer. Even thought the unemployment numbers are down it is still a disaster. The closest comparison is with the Great Depression of the 1930s. During the Great Depression the general US unemployment rate never exceeded 25%. So although the Pathology job market has improved it is still harder for a Pathologist to find an Attending level position than it was for the average person to find a job during the Great Depression.

The Story: There will be a large wave of retirements in Pathology in the next 5 years with many jobs opening up.

The Reality: The people who try to guess the future need for Pathologists assume all retirement is at age 65. This is not the case in Pathology and the average retirement age is probably closer to 70 or 72. As a result there is always an overestimation of the need for Pathologists. There will NOT be a large wave of retirements in the next 5 years as the Pathology establishment predicts. The Pathology training graduates over the next 5 years may have a hard time finding jobs because of this.

The Story: The ongoing attrition of Pathology job positions will stop somehow.

The Reality: The attrition of Pathology job positions is related to the penetration of managed care (HMOs, PPOs, etc.) Managed care organizations tend to employ fewer Pathologists than an otherwise equivalent non-managed care organzation. There is no reason to believe that the penetration of managed care will stop and therefore no reason to believe that the attrition of Pathology job postions will stop.

Committee for Improvement in the Pathology Job Market
For more information visit our Web page at: