The College is aware that there is some confusion about the equivalence of qualifications awarded in different countries. Each country has evolved its own training schemes and methods of assessment of those who have undergone that training.
The main method of assessment for UK pathology training is the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Pathologists (MRCPath). This examination is taken in two parts and trainees are awarded Membership status of the Royal College of Pathologists upon successful completion of both. The MRCPath examination is an assessment of a candidate’s training programme, indicating fitness to practise, whilst at the same time signalling the entry into independent practice and the beginning of continuing professional development.
The terminology of different countries’ certification of their pathology trainees can lead to confusion about equivalence of various qualifications. However, it should be made clear that individuals who reach the standard required to pass the MRCPath examination in their chosen specialty are deemed to have the necessary professional competence to practice unsupervised. For doctors on the General Medical Council’s register, the MRCPath examination contributes to the award of the Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). The award of the CCST marks the end point of a defined specialist training programme in the UK and the individual’s eligibility for appointment to an NHS Consultant post.
Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath) is awarded to individuals in good standing eight years after achieving Membership status of the College. However, it should be made clear that the length of time for the training towards the MRCPath is equivalent to the length of training required for a fellowship in other countries.
Membership and/or Fellowship may also be awarded on the basis of submitted published works. This does not contribute to the award of the CCST and is not a mark of eligibility for appointment to a Consultant post or unsupervised practice.
Dr Clair du Boulay
Vice President and Chairman of the Examinations Committee
Royal College of Pathologists