Forensic Pathologist

The job description of a forensic pathologist

Job description/duties

  • Investigate the cause of unexpected or unexplained deaths
  • Perform post-postmortems (autopsies) to determine the cause of death
  • Work with assistants, police photographers, toxicologists, and forensic dentists
  • You visit the scene of the death, gather information about what happened at the time and place of the subjects death, what they were doing, and what their health was like
  • Examine the clothing, the body, and internal organs


Personal Characteristics needed

  • strong stomach
  • clean/organized


Education needed

  • Around thirteen years of college
  • Medical degree that can take as long as six years
  • One year internship specializing in pathology
  • Specialty degree in pathology
  • Pass exams set by the medical board in your area
  • Law degree is optional


Work Setting

  • Work hours are typically 8-5
  • Typically work 9 or 10 hours a day
  • Typically Monday-Friday
  • Around 45 hours a week
  • Work environments are private crime laboratories and crime scenes
  • They do travel, because they are required in the state, local, and federal government
  • It is stressful because of the work hours and the trauma of working with the deceased
  • I could see myself in this career field because I like solving mysteries/problems by thinking outside the box.
  • I don't have any negative points


Wage and Benefits

  • Entry wage is around $81.25 an hour
  • With 1-4 years of experience $76,282 to $116,653 per year
  • If you have 10-19 years of experience th pay is $127,499-$211,489 per year
  • Insurance and sick leave are included, but vary by state and employer
  • After becoming a forensic pathologist, you can work to become a chief medical examiner or a chief consultant, and they make a higher pay
It is enough pay for my lifestyle, but most of the money I would earn would go towards paying off student loans.


Personal Assessment

I think that this is a good career choice for me, because I like solving mysteries and thinking outside the box. I also want my medical degree.