If you’re looking for a career in the area of anatomy you’ve come to the right place. We have gathered much information below to aid you on your search for a postgraduate course that will help you develop your skills and knowledge.
We’ve all watched Grey’s Anantomy at some point and thought ‘yeah, that’s cool, I want to do that’ – so, here’s your chance. While it’s not exactly what you see on TV, this is the closest you’ll find although not necessarily a worldwide sensation drama series!
What is Anatomy?
Anatomy is the branch of biology that looks at the identification and description of the bodily structures of living things. It delves into looking at organisms and their structures. It is an old science that began in prehistoric times.
There are three types of anatomy – mass, surface and microscopic anatomy.
Mass anatomy is broken into surface anatomy which deals with the external body, regional anatomy which looks at specific regions of the body and systemic anatomy which deals at specific organ systems.
Surface anatomy is the study of anatomical landmarks that may be identified by observing the surface of the body. Microscopic anatomy studies minute anatomical structures on a microscopic scale and can be broken into cytology (cells) and histology (tissue).
What does an anatomist do?
The day to day duties of an anatomist may differ depending on the particular task you are working on. In this role, you will typically work around 40 hours a week but there may be times you will have to work more. The working environment includes offices, laboratories and classrooms. Some typical duties carried out include:
- Study the form and structure of the bodies of living things
- Dissection of bodies to help with research and understanding
- Compare structures of a number of species
- Conduct research
- Analyze and understand research
- Present findings to colleagues
- Record research and results of testing and dissection
- Determine and research the ability of animal bodies to regenerate – injuries, destroyed parts
- Study the possibility of body transplants and how they will work
- Conduct research to contribute to the production of human medicine
There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Coivd-19 and may offer courses online. Courses available include:
There are a number of postgraduate courses in anatomy. While content may differ from course to course, in most cases students will look at anatomy through dissection, gain knowledge and experience of anatomical teaching and contribute to research in the area. Other topics studied include neuroanatomy, embryology, anatomy law and ethics and medical imaging.
Courses in clinical anatomy will provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of clinically related human anatomy by dissection, understand the anatomical basis of clinical subjects such as surgery, radiology and histology. These courses overlap with human anatomy content as well as clinical anatomy subjects added to that. Students will also be able to locate and identify key anatomical structures such as clinical phenotypes, on medical images.
Anatomical and Translational Sciences
Postgraduate courses in this area are aimed at those who are interested in medical school or health science programmes. Students will gain a strong foundation in order to progress in their careers. Areas covered include understanding the basic medical and translational sciences and human disorders.
Other courses that might be of interest to you include Anatomical Sciences, Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy and Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology, among many more.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1. A degree in a relevant area is desired.
Potential employers of those working in anatomy include:
- Research organisations
- Health organisations
- Scientific organisations
- Government agencies
- Private companies – artificial limb production
- Publishing firms
The salary of an anatomist may vary depending on their employment, the size of the company they’re working with, location and mostly experience. It is believed that the average salary of an anatomist in the UK is around £38,900. Entry level salaries are closer to £26,000 while those with much experience may earn in excess of £55,000. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong research skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Ability to interpret information
- A critical mind
- Attention to detail
- Time management skills
- Organisational skills
- Problem solving skills
- Analytical skills
- Teaching skills
- An understanding of anatomy