Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


Education & Training Update

RSPH Level 3 Diploma APT

The RSPH level 3 diploma which replaced the “certificate” has now seen its first group of APTs successfully navigate the full programme to become fully qualified anatomical pathology technologists. This been very exciting for all involved in process!

The successful completion consisted of students undertaking 4 separate exams in health & Safety, Microbiology, A&P part 1 and A&P part 2.

They have also completed 5 assignments set by the RSPH in topics covering; infection prevention and control in the mortuary, how to produce risk assessments, responding to and reporting of incidents in the mortuary, mortuary governance and administration and communication with professionals we may encounter and the bereaved.

Along side this, the students produced comprehensive portfolios of professional competence in the following subjects: preparing for post-mortem examination, assisting with post-mortem examination, preparation and operation of a mortuary, team working and viewing of the deceased. The portfolios were scrutinised by RSPH/AAPT external assessors who are also required to witness the trainee APT in the workplace, so a full external assessors report of their competence can be produced for RSPH validation.

All assessors work to the same framework agreed by RPSH and the AAPT – this is with the aim to ensure standards of care of the deceased and bereaved are comparable from mortuary to mortuary. A document of national standards was produced in May 2014 by a large group of 30+ APTs, which included members and non members of the AAPT. These national standards were reviewed and have full support from the HTA, ensuring compliance with our licencing body.

Currently there are 2 centres providing the training for the RSPH Level 3 Diploma, Forth Valley in Scotland and North Tees & Hartlepool NHS FT. The centres communicate with each other frequently and offer training placements to students each year based on their individual entry criteria. We are hoping a third centre in the south of the country may come on board soon.

Both national centres are currently working with the second cohort of eager trainee APTs and from February 2016 will be commencing with the 3rd cohort. The training is 18 months in total with an expectation that most trainees will have completed 6 months in house training in their own home mortuary before commencement with the course.

Information on the level 3 including the syllabus, centres offering the qualification and general information can be found here:

If you require any further information / assistance please do not hesitate to contact:

How you can help:

If you and your department are interested in becoming a national centre for the delivery of the level 3 diploma, please see the following information form the RSPH:

The AAPT are looking for more external assessors to volunteer their time to oversee students practical assessments. Details of the criteria for assessors and how to apply can be found:,324

RSPH Level 4 Diploma APT          

Foundation Degree APT (level 5)            

BSc Hons APT (Level 6)

The RSPH Level 4 Diploma in APT (which replaces the diploma in APT) has seen some positive steps in the right direction along with the other new higher qualifications, the foundation degree (Level 5) and the BSc Hons (Level 6). It is extremely likely that Chester University will provide these qualifications in the not too distant future. An extremely positive internal validation of these programmes was undertaken in Chester in early October – this means Chester can now move forward with the external validation of the programme.

The level 4 diploma, we are hoping will be announced shortly - we are working closely with Chester to ensure we provide information to our members as soon as we are able on registration for this exciting new course.

Level 5 & 6 will naturally follow on from the introduction of the level 4 – again we will endeavour to provide information as soon as we are able.

For your information -  if you are wishing to undertake any of the new qualifications and as they will be based in an higher education institution (HEI) it is likely the following will occur:

For those wishing to access the level 4 diploma -

  • If you currently hold the level 3 diploma you will automatically meet the criteria to access this course
  • If you currently hold the RSPH certificate (replaced by Level 3) in APT, there will likely be a requirement for you to complete an access course comprising of some of the level 3 diploma elements – this is currently in discussion with the RSPH / Chester and the AAPT

For those wishing to access the level 5 foundation degree –

  • For those who will hold the level 4 diploma in APT  in the future, you will automatically meet the criteria for access to this course
  • For those who currently hold the RSPH Diploma (Replaced by level 4 diploma) in APT, there will likely be a requirement for you to complete an access course comprising of some of the level 4 diploma elements – this is currently in discussion with the RSPH / Chester and the AAPT.

There may however, be an opportunity for those already holding higher qualifications to access the level 5 & 6 with direct discussion with the qualification provider. Please note this can only be done when the qualification is in place.

For your information - All APT qualifications are only accessible by those employed as an APT and are not accessible by the general public.

AAPT student representative

The AAPT has a dedicated student representative – Frances Ciardini. Frances has successfully completed the level 3 diploma in APT and will hopefully be commencing with the level 4 in the not too distant future.

Frances’ role involves supporting trainee APTs with educational advice and moral support. She is also the trainee APT voice on council, so ANY trainee APTs who wish to feedback to council, receive information, support or guidance  through the level 3 / 4 diplomas please do not hesitate to contact Frances on the following email:

How you can help:

If you are a trainee APT or have a trainee APT in your department, please make sure they are aware that the AAPT provide a student representative and please do or encourage tor trainee APT to get in touch, even to say hello!

Future Updates

The recent AAPT survey responses suggested that members and non-members would like to receive regular updates on training and education. We will endeavour to provide a monthly report on current affairs from the national training centres and the HEI, along with other news. This will be produced by the education and training committee in conjunction with Frances the AAPT student rep.

The mortuary managers study day in Bristol on the 27th November will include the topic of mentoring trainee APTs in the workplace, so for those of you who would like to attend this, details of the event can be found here:

It has been an extremely busy and productive period for the AAPT council -  from working with the RSPH in embedding the level 3 diploma as promised, to ensuring external assessors are trained and competent, to working closely with Chester University… we are now finally seeing an end to the complex process of ensuring fit for purpose APT qualifications are in place - qualifications which not only ensure an APT is qualified to a high standard, but also looks to standardise care of the deceased and bereaved nationally.

Its been exhausting, especially as all committee members hold full time jobs as APTs, senior APTs, mortuary managers etc…  but its also been an exciting journey to be part of and we thank you all for your patience and support during the implementation period.

So over to you!

How you can help:

Remember we are always looking for members to support the work that we do, so please contact us if you would like to offer your services and some time to promoting your profession  – it may be that we put you in touch with the regional APT leads to help develop or promote training events in your area. All are welcome!

Michelle Lancaster

AAPT Education and Training Committee 

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