Also called: Coroner, County Coroner, Deputy Coroner, Medical Examiner
Produced by CareerOneStop
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Coroners are medical detectives. They work with other investigators to that are accidental, violent, or unexplained. Coroners perform or supervise autopsies and highly specialized lab tests. When a coroner is also a physician, he or she is called a medical examiner. They may visit the scene of the death and confer with law enforcement and public health officials to gather information. It’s up to the coroner to determine or assign a cause of death, and issue a death certificate. A coroner is a public officer, and may be appointed or elected. The coroner may be called to testify in court, in some cases to convict a person of a crime, so they must be methodical and detail-oriented. Coroners’ work hours can be irregular and involve a great deal of careful documentation. Sometimes, coroners must speak with relatives of the deceased, which requires sensitivity and respect, and can be emotionally draining. Local laws define the specifics of each coroner's duties. A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement; majors vary from criminal justice to mortuary science to forensic pathology. A medical background is a plus. Many state coroners' associations offer certification programs. The work of coroners is an important service to the living. It can help to solve crimes and prevent future homicides or accidental deaths.
What they do:Direct activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.
On the job, you would:
- Perform medicolegal examinations and autopsies, conducting preliminary examinations of the body to identify victims, locate signs of trauma, and identify factors that would indicate time of death.
- Inquire into the cause, manner, and circumstances of human deaths and establish the identities of deceased persons.
- Complete death certificates, including the assignment of cause and manner of death.
Arts and Humanities
- English language
- medicine and dentistry
Safety and Government
- law and government
- public safety and security
- talking to others
- thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- changing what is done based on other people's actions
- understanding people's reactions
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- use rules to solve problems
- see hidden patterns
- quickly know what you are looking at
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Concern for Others
- Self Control
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
- Rapid Medical Examiners System
Graphics or photo imaging software
- 3D graphics software
- Graphics software
Word processing software