With the number of forensic crime solving shows on television today, we see a lot of coroners going about their duties.  However, what are the coroner job requirements and the coroner job description exactly?

We usually see the coroner as the person who is cutting up the body, letting the police or others know exactly what killed the person.  However, that is not technically correct.  The coroner is the person in charge who puts out the reports and is in charge.  The person working with the body is a medical examiner.  The coroner and the medical examiner may be the same person, but they could be two different people.  In some areas, the coroner is also elected, so if a medical examiner wants to be the coroner, they will also need to be a little political, to win the election.

The job requirements of a medical examiner will vary from state to state, and even from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  They will usually need to have a medical degree, then additional schooling in forensic sciences and may have law enforcement training.  They may have to pass additional tests or training depending on where they are working.  A medical examiner can work for a hospital, research, law enforcement, or a government agency.

While on the job, the average medical examiner, or coroner, will need to show extreme attention to detail, both in the aspects of solving the mystery of why a person dies, and in filling out reports.  They will be finding out why a person died.  They will need to perform autopsies, and perform toxicology and pathology reports.  They will need to fill out forms, and if need be, will need to be ready to testify in court.  The medical examiner will be able to practice only in the area they are employed.  Since with any case they may need to testify in court, they need to follow all rules and normal conventions, since the failure to do so may result in a person being wrongly convicted or set free.

Hours and working conditions may be extreme.  Hours will vary as a person may die at any time.  The reports are also needed under tight deadlines and work times may reflect that.  Conditions to examine bodies in place may be extreme, as well as the conditions the bodies are store under.  So the medical examiner will need to be able to deal with varying working conditions.

On the whole, as you can see the medical examiner will need to be a stickler for details in the execution of his job, but show an willingness to be flexible while performing his job and dealing with others.

The National Association of Medical Examiners is a group that medical examiners and others in related fields can join.  It has four levels of members, depending on the job and education the member has.  The purpose of NAME is to spread information as well to promote education and higher levels of standards among medical examiners. 

The National Association of Medical Examiners also can, upon invitation, come in to accredit a lab, making sure they are following appropriate procedures to have a high standard of competence.

As you can see, the coroner job requirements and the coroner job description are varied.  The job itself is exacting.  But the pay can start at $40,000, but as it goes up with experience, it can top $200,000.  Next time you see them on television, you can understand a little more of the job.