Job type

Anatomical pathology technician

£20k - £31.5k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Help pathologists carry out post-mortems in mortuaries.

More info

  • Work in a clinical setting, supporting pathologists in their work
  • You'll need to learn to cope with working in this challenging environment
  • Rewarding work as it can help bereaved families come to terms with their loss

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


  • Passing instruments like scalpels to pathologists
  • Taking tissue samples
  • Weighing organs as they're removed from a body
  • Taking samples for lab analysis
  • Recording the findings of a post-mortem exam

After a post-mortem, you'll help to:

  • Reconstruct and clean the body ready for storage or release to an undertaker

Your role might also:

  • Include making sure instruments are clean, sterile and ready for use
  • Receiving bodies into the mortuary
  • Placing the deceased into cold storage units
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Tracking the property and samples of the deceased


You'll work in a mortuary. You'll work closely with doctors, the police, coroner's office staff and the relatives of those who have died. You may need to work shifts or be on-call. 

You'll need to wear protective clothing like rubber gloves, a theatre gown, visor and boots.

You'll need

You'll need excellent communication skills; a strong stomach for dealing with disturbing sights and smells; knowledge of biology; and a methodical approach to work.

You'll need to complete a 2-year traineeship or a mortuary technician advanced apprenticeship. Training and education in anatomical pathology combines academic learning with work-based learning.

At first you'll be based in a mortuary and start your training with a short period observing the wide range of mortuary procedures.

This is followed by working under the supervision of senior staff and pathologists. You'll also attend teaching sessions on a level 3 diploma course awarded by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH).

To become a trainee you'll usually need GCSEs or equivalent, usually including English, maths and a science (usually biology), to be sensitive to the issues facing families dealing with bereavement, and an awareness and respect for different religious beliefs surrounding death.

You'll observe experienced pathologists and technicians and study for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Certificate in Anatomical Pathology Technology. Once you have completed the diploma, including practical assessments and a written exam, you can apply for Associate Membership of the RSPH.

You can also join the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology (AAPT), which represents and promotes the profession.


With experience, you might help forensic pathologists examine murder victims. You could also train other health professionals and move into more advanced technical work or management.