We have compiled our most common Pathology Collection FAQ.

What is Pathology Collection?

When it comes to diagnosing illnesses and determining treatment effectiveness, pathology collection is a hugely important step. Pathology forms the basis of healthcare and is a medical speciality that focuses on examining the nature, origin, and course of diseases. Pathology collection is vital to healthcare and is used in areas ranging from diagnostics and the management of chronic illnesses, as well as research and development.

What’s the difference between a pathology collector and a phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are people who have been specifically trained to draw blood from a patient (mostly from veins) for clinical or medical testing, transfusions, donations, or research. If you are working as a pathology collector, your skill set is much broader. Some other responsibilities of pathology collectors include:

  • Collection of venous blood samples
  • Trained to gather other biological samples such as skin tissue or fluids
  • In some roles, you need to administer specific tests such as electrocardiograms (ECG), spirometry and 24-hour blood pressure monitors.

Where do pathology collectors work?

Pathology collectors usually work in medical laboratories, however, they can work in a hospital lab, a doctor’s surgery or private research facilities. Within a hospital, pathology collectors can work in a surgical unit, haematology and transfusion services or morgue. In private research facilities, pathology collectors might collect data for clinical trials of new medications.

What happens on a typical day?

On a typical day, you may meet patients in order to collect biological samples, explain the collection method to them and answer various questions in regard to any reservations they may have about the procedure.

In Australia, the pathology workforce is very diverse. The industry currently consists of roughly 24,000 individuals involved in collecting, processing and reporting an estimated 500 million pathology tests each year.

How much do pathology collectors make?

The average salary for a pathology collector is $53,000 per year. However, the average salary can vary by geographic location, place of employment, level of education and years of experience.

What do I need to work in this role?

In order to work in this role, you need to be organised and empathic. When labelling the specimen samples, following the correct procedure is absolutely essential in pathology collection. You must also develop rapport with your patient and be understanding of any fears they may have prior to the test.

More often than not, collectors are the only pathology staff who get the chance to interact with patients. Collectors take specimens like wound swabs or blood samples at a collection centre, medical centre or hospital. Mobile collectors visit patients who cannot travel to their homes to collect pathology specimens.

What qualifications are needed?

If this is the career you are looking for, the minimum education requirement is the HLT37215 Certificate III in Pathology Collection. Smart and Skilled Funding is available for eligible students (this training is subsidised by the NSW Government). Call us on 1300 366 044 today and ask for an obligation-free fee quote.