How To Become A Pathologist In South Africa

If you have a passion for understanding diseases and helping patients, a career as a pathologist in South Africa may be the perfect fit for you. Pathologists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating illnesses by examining tissue samples and conducting laboratory tests. In this guide, we will explore the steps you need to take to become a pathologist in South Africa.

Educational Requirements

To become a pathologist in South Africa, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at a recognized medical school. This typically takes five to six years to complete. After obtaining your MBChB degree, you will need to complete a four-year residency program in anatomical pathology or clinical pathology.

Residency Program

During your residency program, you will work under the supervision of experienced pathologists to gain hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating diseases. You will also have the opportunity to conduct research and attend lectures to further your knowledge in the field of pathology.

Registration and Certification

Once you have completed your residency program, you will need to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to practice as a pathologist. You will also need to pass the National Fellowship Examination in Pathology to become board-certified in the field.

How To Become A Pathologist In South Africa


After becoming board-certified, you may choose to specialize in a specific area of pathology, such as forensic pathology, surgical pathology, or pediatric pathology. Specializing can help you develop expertise in a particular area and advance your career in the field.

Continuing Education

As a pathologist, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. You can attend conferences, workshops, and seminars to expand your knowledge and skills. Continuing education is essential for maintaining your certification and providing the best possible care for your patients.

Job Outlook

According to the South African Society of Clinical Pathology, the demand for pathologists in South Africa is expected to grow in the coming years. Pathologists are needed in hospitals, clinics, research laboratories, and government agencies to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases.


Becoming a pathologist in South Africa requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning. By completing the necessary education and training, obtaining certification, and staying current with developments in the field, you can embark on a rewarding career as a pathologist helping to improve the health and well-being of patients in South Africa.