This program is accredited by the

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: 847-939-3597 or 773-714-8880
Fax: 773-714-8886

Instructional Plan and Program Goal

Program Goal

The Wayne State University Pathologists' Assistant program trains individuals who will assist pathologists in the performance of postmortem examination and in the dissection, dictation, and evaluation of surgical specimens for microscopic diagnosis. The program also provides individuals with budgetary, supervisory, and teaching skills. Last, the program trains individuals to function as competent entry level pathologists' assistants capable of performing, under the supervision of a pathologist those professional responsibilities as defined by the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants (AAPA).

Knowledge Base

  • Identify, compare and discuss features of basic human anatomy and physiology.
  • Microscopically identify tissues and organs.
  • Describe normal human embryogenesis and identify stages of organogenesis. Demonstrate fundamental skills of photography and apply same to recording of clinical specimens.
  • Explain meaning of common medical terms and identify and recognize normal clinical values.
  • Identify, explain and demonstrate standard histochemical methods for characterization of tissues/organs
  • Apply basic biochemistry concepts to discussions of and evaluation of disease processes.
  • Interpret basic techniques used for differentiation and identification of medically significant microorganisms.
  • Identify regulatory, legal and organizational environment of a hospital laboratory.
  • Recognize and identify changes in trends in pathology practice, the impact of changing educational models and platforms, as well as changes in technological advances and practices in pathology.
  • Recognize, develop and demonstrate highly ethical practices in pathology.
  • Explain and evaluate principles of general pathology.
  • Explain the role of medical examiner and procedures for the identification of human remains.

Technical Skills

Regarding Surgical Specimens:

  • Accession specimens appropriately.
  • Describe gross anatomic features.
  • Dissect surgical specimens.
  • Prepare tissue for processing.
  • Obtain biological specimens for analysis according to protocol (e.g. blood cultures, viral cultures, toxicological samples, immunohistochemistry).
  • Photographically document pertinent specimens and microscopic slides.
  • Maintain the surgical suite in accordance with federal and other regulatory guidelines.

Regarding Autopsy Specimens:

  • Identify special autopsy techniques and/or procedures as required.
  • Perform postmortem examinations according to protocol.
  • Select and prepare gross tissue specimens for frozen and permanent sections for light, EM and or immunohistochemical techniques.
  • Obtain biological specimens for analysis.
  • Photgraphically document body, organ, microscope slide and/or other pertinent material. Maintain autopsy suite in accordance with regulatory guidelines.
  • Restore body following autopsy.

Judgement and Analytical Decision Making

Regarding Surgical Specimens:

  • Access pertinent clinical history.
  • Select specimens for processing.

Regarding Autopsy Specimens:

  • Assemble pertinent history and clinical data.
  • Determine focus of autopsy.


  • Maintain reports, protocols and collections.
  • Ascertain proper legal authorization for autopsy.
  • Coordinate personal involved in special specimen sampling.
  • Release body in accordance with regulatory guidelines.


  • Implement directions given by supervising pathologist and respond appropriately.
  • Notify personnel involved as special techniques or procedures that are required.
  • Assist in AP conferences.

Pathologists' Assistant Graduate Data

  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Pass Rate (first time test takers within one year of graduation) 80% 91% 91% 100% 100%  100% YTD
Employment placement rate (six months after graduation) 90% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Graduation Rate 100% 92% 100% 92% 100% 100%
Attrition  0% 8% 0% 0% 0% 0%