How to Be a Coroner

The Coroner Job Overview:

A coroner is a licensed physician who possess specialized training in forensic pathology. They perform autopsies and inspect organs, tissue and bodily fluids to determine the cause of death in violent or suspicious cases. Oftentimes they work in conjunction with police and CSI's to investigate and determine whether a death was an intentional act and how it occurred.

Education Needed to be a Coroner:

A coroner is a physician so they must go through the entire degree process of receiving a doctorate degree which is attending a four year university, attending medical school and performing a residency and fellowship with a school, hospital, coroner's office or GP doctor office. The individual requirements for receiving the educational degrees differs from country to country in regards to the overall amount of hours spent learning the subject, the overall hours spent in the residency and internship. The major for a degree can vary from subjects such as biology, pre-med or criminal justice depending on the overall goals of the person in regards to a coroner career.

Other Requirements to be a Coroner:

Other requirements for being a coroner include having an aptitude for biology, science and criminal investigation as well as the necessary ability to delve into dead bodies and work with things such as bodily fluids, tissue and organs in a less than desirable way. The person should also be able to deal emotionally with seeing truly horrific things and dealing with the dead bodies of people anywhere from the age of infancy to the elderly. The person shouldn't have a weak stomach when it comes to dealing with dead bodies and should like or want to spend a great deal of their time working alone around dead bodies.

Advancement as a Coroner:

Advancement in the coroner career field is varied, but offers a fair room for advancement in the future. A coroner could begin as a low level coroner's assistant and work up to the lead coroner over the years or take on a more managerial or supervisory position if the facility is larger and has a significant staff volume. There is also the prospect of taking the experience as a coroner and moving into an instructor capacity in a college or other educational environment as well.

Future Prospect for Jobs as a Coroner:

The medical field in general is growing exponentially as the population grows and coincidentally as the numbers of deaths grows as well. The need for a coroner will always be a vital part of the death process and the future prospects for a person considering being a coroner is excellent.

Expected Salary as a Coroner:

The average annual salary for a coroner varies based upon the actual position held, the geographical location, education and experience. However as a basic idea of what a coroner makes the average could be determined at about $50,000 or £30,000 annual salary a year. The amount is the median for a coroner, but could be much lower or higher based upon the reasons as stated above.

A Day-in-the-Life of a Coroner:

A coroner's typical day will include the tasks of dealing with dead bodies and the investigation thereof which can include:

  • Weighing, measuring and noting the condition of all organs
  • Determining time of death
  • Determining the contents of a dead body's stomach
  • Taking tissue samples and scrapings of any foreign matter on the body
  • Determining the weapon used to kill the person
  • Determining the overall cause of death of a body
  • Using analysis of samples of tissue and stomach to determine cause of death or previous locations of dead body


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