A coroner's job description

Written by lindsay bledsoe
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A coroner's job description
Becoming a coroner (main surgeon image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from Fotolia.com)

Like many medical positions, becoming a coroner takes years of study and practical experience. As a surgical technician that helps determine causes and manners of death, the coroner works to provide answers that explain the causes and methods of a person passing away. If you are considering a career as a coroner, you should be prepared to work extensively with your hands, manage others and have a deep understanding of the human body.

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Duties

Typically a licensed medical professional, coroners supervise investigations to determine the cause of death for criminal cases, suicides and other similar situations. They are held under strict regulations and may only investigate deaths that occur within his or her jurisdiction. Coroners are surgical technicians who lead medical staff as investigations are completed. They can perform autopsies, pathological and toxicology reports and may also work with outside laboratories or physicians when needed. A coroner is usually employed by a specialised medical facility or law enforcement office. At times, coroners may also be called upon to act as expert witnesses in criminal trials.

Qualifications

Though detailed qualifications vary from state to state, no matter where he or she is employed, a coroner must have detailed knowledge of human anatomy, injuries, illnesses and many causes of death. Coroner positions require at least a bachelor's degree in a science or medical field, but most will ask for at least four years of postgraduate study as well. A person working in this position must have strong analytical skills for processing complicated information and have adept abilities in directing and managing others.

Career Outlook

Most jobs in the medical field are in high demand, and a career as a coroner is no exception. It is expected that the need for workers in this position will continue to grow over the next decade and that there will be a need for these skilled workers for the foreseeable future. The expected salary for this position is between £26,000 and £32,500 annually for coroners that have worked for less than five years.

Where to Find Work

After you have completed the necessary educational requirements for becoming a coroner, finding a job in the field can be difficult, depending on where you live. Since the coroner is typically a position that answers directly to county law enforcement, many communities will only allow coroners that have been voted into their office by the people of their jurisdiction. Check with your local government to find out if county coroner is a position for which anyone can apply or if it is an elected position.

Expectations

Since coroners ultimately spend much of their time working with the deceased, it is always expected that investigations be conducted in a respectful and professional manner. Coroners have a very important job and use their gathered information to solve crimes and provide answers and closure for families of the deceased. A person will excel in this position if they are accustomed to dealing with death and are not squeamish in the least. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a coroner, check your local higher education institution for information on available programs and courses.

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