Anatomical pathology technician

mortuary technician anatomical pathology technologist mortuary attendant
Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You'd help doctors conduct post-mortems to discover how and why a person died suddenly.

You'd provide a sensitive and tactful service to bereaved families, giving them answers about the death of their loved one.

During a post-mortem, you would work carefully alongside a specialist doctor - the pathologist - as they dissect the body.

You would:

  • Pass them instruments, such as scalpels
  • Take tissue samples
  • Weigh organs as they are removed from a body
  • Take samples for lab analysis
  • Accurately record the findings of the examination

After a post-mortem, you'd help to reconstruct and clean the body for storage or to for collection by an undertaker.

You'd run the mortuary efficiently to meet legal and medical requirements, including health and safety rules.

You would:

  • Make sure instruments are clean, sterile and ready for use
  • Receive bodies into the mortuary at short notice
  • Place the deceased person into cold storage units
  • Keep accurate records as required by law
  • Keep track of the property and samples of the deceased person

You would work closely with doctors, the police, the procurator fiscal and the relatives of those who have died.

With experience, you could assist forensic pathologists to examine murder victims.

Most jobs are within the National Health Service though you could also work with local authority's mortuary facilities. You can check the NHS salary for this role in the Agenda for Change pay rate guide on the NHS Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work about 37.5 hours a week, which may include shifts and on-call duties

Environment

For post-mortem work, you would be based in a stark and clinical setting. To maintain health and safety, you would wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves, a theatre gown, visor and boots.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding
  • Verbal communication
  • Respecting
  • Researching
  • Observation
  • Evaluating

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need four to five subjects at Standard Grade or National 5.

Useful subjects

  • English 
  • Maths
  • Science subject - Biology preferred

You will also need

You would be expected to attend a Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) approved training course. This can be done on a day-release basis or a two-week residential course.

Helpful to have

Knowledge of the practices of different religions.