Medical Examiner

Ian Westphal

Job Description

Medical Examiners have the job of inspecting bodies (preform autopsies) and determine the cause of death for a person. They also issue death certificates. Medical Examiners usually only investigate suspicious deaths or crimes.

Working Conditions

Medical Examiners have a variety of different working conditions, they could be on a crime scene, at the lab, or even can testify in a trial. This can be done with or without other people and the hours that an examiner may work can vary. You also must travel a bit within your region to go to crime scenes to investigate.
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Education Requirements

Becoming a medical examiner can be a very long process. First you are preferred to earn a bachelors degree in another field of study. You then need to get a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy degree. And then after all of that you need to enter a 5 year residency in forensic pathology. You THEN are able to sit for the exam to become a certified Medical Examiner. In all this takes about 8-13 years.

Personal Characteristics

To become a medical examiner you must be very patient, observant and you need to be able to pay attention to detail. Also if you are afraid of blood and gore, this is most likely not the profession for you.


Medical examiner's pay has a very large range dependent on the region they work in. For instance, Medical Examiners in Virginia make from 91,000 to 187,000 per year while a Medical Examiner in Chicago makes upwards of 300,000 per year. The pay most likely ranges because of the amount of crime/deaths.

Educational Spotlight

There are hundreds of medical schools around the US that we can earn degrees in medicine etc.. However these are some schools that have forensic science programs that specifically teach these fundamentals: University of Central Florida, Michigan State, Florida International University, University of Maryland, Boston University, St. Petersburg College. These schools are all viable options when considering entering the field of forensic science.