What does a Medical Examiner do?
Medical Examiners typically work for law enforcement agencies in forensic laboratories. They work closely with Police Officers, Criminal Investigators and other forensic professionals to determine a cause of death for the deceased and bring closure to loved ones. Their job is to maintain a clean laboratory space and maintain an inventory of forensic tools and supplies to aid their job duties. They may also be responsible for providing testimony in a court of law to offer professional expertise about how someone died.
Medical Examiner skills and qualifications
Medical Examiners need a wide range of skills. Candidates develop the technical skills they need in college and through residency. This should cover qualifications like knowing how to handle evidence, maintaining a lab and working with a team to collect and publish data. Other essential skills and qualifications for a Medical Examiner include:
- Decision-making skills
- Communication skills
- The ability to preserve the integrity of evidence, from initial collection to processing and delivering materials to other sources
- The ability to work under intense pressure without compromising the quality of your work
Medical Examiner salary expectations
According to data we’ve collected from roughly 60 people and job postings over the past three years, the average salary for a medical examiner/forensic scientist is around $60,000. Pay varies greatly depending on hours worked and factors like experience level and the job’s location. Salaries can be as low as $22,000 a year and as high as $131,000 annually.
Medical Examiner education and training requirements
Medical Examiners must complete several years of higher education, ending with becoming an M.D. or D.O. This can take 15 years; students must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree, then attend medical school for another four years and then complete residency, which can take up to seven years. Finally, before beginning in this career field, candidates must become certified in accordance with state laws.
Medical Examiner experience requirements
Medical Examiners can find work after completing their residencies. While these individuals won’t have experience working with a company or organization yet, they will have gained sufficient real-world experience through their residency program.
If you’re hiring a Medical Examiner, you’ll get some applicants with previous Medical Examiner experience and some with experience from a related background, such as science or chemistry. For entry-level workers, you’ll find up to roughly two years of experience. Mid- and senior-level roles typically require three to five years of experience or more.
Job description samples for similar positions
Is this description not quite what you’re looking for? Since Medical Examiner work in such a niche area, it might help to expand your search and review other positions. To ensure you’re crafting the most effective description possible, check out our samples and descriptions for a few similar roles: