Online Medical Examiner Degree Programs

Online programs aren't an option for aspiring medical examiners; however, on-campus programs are. Learn more about the degree options that are available as well as residencies and fellowships. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Will I Need To Become a Medical Examiner?

You will need to complete several major steps in order to become a medical examiner, a forensic pathology career that involves performing autopsies and related investigations for the government. The first two steps involve earning a bachelor's degree and then a medical degree. As long as you complete certain science prerequisites necessary for admission into medical school, your undergraduate degree field need not be relevant to your intended career as a medical examiner. Regardless of your undergraduate major, most medical schools will require you to have completed extensive college-level coursework in biology and chemistry, as well as physics and mathematics. Your medical degree can be either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).

Due to the extensive hands-on nature of your education, including both your undergraduate degree and medical school, you will not generally find these programs available for online study. In rare cases, you may find partially online bachelor's degree programs that prepare you for admission into medical school, though these typically require some campus-based, lab-focused courses.

Program Levels Bachelor's degree, doctorate
Other Requirements Residency in anatomic and clinical pathology may be required after graduate; residency or fellowship in forensic pathology may be required after first residency
Online Availability Bachelor's degrees may have online components; no online options are available for other programs

What Further Training Will I Need?

Upon earning your medical degree, you must spend three to four years training in anatomic and clinical pathology through a residency program. During this step of your medical examiner preparation, you will gain practical experience in a variety of forms of pathology. This includes autopsy pathology, surgical pathology and cytology, which is the study of cells. You may also complete additional, advanced coursework in microbiology, chemistry and other subject areas relevant to pathology.

The residency is followed by one year of study directly in forensic pathology. This can be either a residency or fellowship. Like your bachelor's and medical degrees, all of your residency and fellowship requirements must be met through in-person training, rather than online. After you complete this final year of study, you must complete the forensic pathology examination, which is administered by the American Board of Pathology.

What Will I Learn in a Fellowship Program?

Forensic pathology fellowship programs are available at medical examiner's offices, offered through the offices themselves or the medical examiner programs of local universities. As a fellow, you will perform autopsies on victims of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths. Most programs will require you to complete at least 250 autopsies over the course of a year. You will also visit the scenes of death, participating in crime scene investigations.

As the year progresses, you will gain experience in the legal aspects of being a medical examiner. This includes testifying in depositions and in court. You may also work in a crime laboratory, attend conferences and present lectures. Throughout your fellowship, you will work alongside and under the supervision of experienced forensic pathologists.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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