What Does a Medical Examiner Do?

A career as a medical examiner may appeal to those with interests in both medicine and criminal justice. Read below to find out details regarding what a medical examiner does. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Medical examiners are doctors who work with deceased bodies to determine their cause and time of death. Using a combination of investigative and medical skills, the medical examiner analyzes the available information to develop a determination.

Important Facts About Medical Examiners

Professional Certification Examination administered by National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
Key Skills Critical thinking, reading comprehension, clear written communication, good judgment and decision making, problem solving, serviced oriented
Work Environment Police departments, crime laboratories, morgues, medical examiner/coroners offices
Similar Occupations Clinical nurse specialists, physicians assistants, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners

Duties

Medical examiners use information provided by external and internal autopsies, medical records, and circumstantial evidence to determine time and cause of death. They may study the blood, organs, and body fluids of a deceased body in order to provide an accurate determination. This may include rape examinations and analysis of DNA. Medical examiners are often required to testify in court and are considered expert witnesses in a variety of civil and criminal cases. They may testify about the cause of death and provide the court with other relevant forensic information. It is important to note that only a small percentage of deaths require an autopsy.

Education and Job Requirements

Students who are interested in becoming medical examiners must first complete an accredited medical school program. After graduating as a Medical Doctor (M.D.), they must enter a general pathology residency, lasting approximately three to five years. These residencies provide doctors with advanced training in the diagnosis of disease. They then complete a one-year specialty training program in forensic pathology at a medical examiner's office. Certification by the American Board of Pathology is required. Medical examiners are often elected to their position at the state or county level. In some counties, medical examiners are also required to possess law degrees.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of medical examiners earn between $29,997 and $186,372 a year, as of September 2015. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of medical examination, the BLS categorizes coroners and medical examiners as types of compliance officers. Accordingly, the BLS projects that the employment of compliance officers will likely grow by about 4.6% between 2012 and 2022.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »