Coroner

A coroner directs the investigation when someone dies of an unknown cause.  He is responsible for autopsies and other methods that help determine the time and cause of death. This includes toxicological and pathological reports.

Coroners are especially useful in piecing together the details of a murder and other violent death. The information they provide is crucial to crime scene investigation, making them an essential part of the CSI team. By understanding how a victim died, the case becomes that much more specific, and the coroner’s results may even lead authorities to discovering the culprit’s identity. The coroner’s records may be used as evidence in court.


Education

There are no specific education requirements to become a coroner.  Although it helps to start with a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, biology, or criminology.  Other possible courses of study include chemistry, biochemistry, pathology, and toxicology. Afterwards, post-graduate studies in medicine or law will help qualify you for a job. In many cases, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree in a medical or legal program. You may also participate in training course, workshops and certificate programs to develop coroner skills.

Other Requirements

Most coroners will need at least 5 years of qualifying experience.  In most areas coroners have a background in law, medicine, law enforcement or a related field.

You may also need to pursue annual training to maintain certification as a coroner in your state.


Career Outlook

As of this writing, the average coroner can make anywhere between $36,000 and $66,000 every year.  Although in some areas coroners are paid a fixed fee each time they perform their services, instead of an annual salary.

The career outlook for a coroner is relatively stable, as they play a major role in the post-mortem identification and analyses of crime victims. Crime scene investigations will often need the services of a coroner, ensuring that the demand for coroners will never significantly dwindle.  In some areas coroners are elected officials.  Campaigning to achieve this position can require significant effort and expense.


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