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Medical Examiner Job Description

medical examiner job description

Forensic pathologists often referred to as medical examiners, are specialists physicians with anatomical and forensic pathology training. These candidates utilize their medical abilities to identify the cause of the decedent’s death, whether the death was intentional, accidental, or natural. Medical examiners are usually needed to testify in legal cases where their abilities are being used.

The candidates must be trained and even-tempered in criminal procedure and forensic analysis and understand evidence collection and chain of custody to succeed in a medical examiner role. In addition, these candidates usually perform their duties with law enforcement members; hence, they must have the ability to collaborate while carrying out their responsibilities efficiently.

medical examiner job

Job Description of a Medical Examiner

Various medical facilities, hospitals, morgues, medical schools, government agencies, and other healthcare settings look for the medical examiner. These candidates are responsible for conducting medical examinations post-mortem over dead people to identify the circumstances, manner, and cause surrounding their death.

The candidates interested in a career as a medical examiner may find rewarding aspects of this field. They conduct post-mortem examinations on decedents. They also ascertain the time and cause of death and identify an individual’s violent incidents, unexpected or sudden death.

Medical examiners are also required to analyze evidence, witness statements, investigate crime scenes, and look through the medical history of a deceased person to determine the death’s time and cause.

Responsibilities of a Medical Examiner

  • Medical examiners usually perform autopsies to identify the cause of death.
  • They must undertake examinations of blood, fluids, organs, tissues, and specimens to determine theta may have caused or resulted in death.
  • These candidates also investigate unnatural or sudden death in coordination with law enforcement whenever required.
  • Medical examiners also collect information associated with a case and investigation to acquire data whenever required.
  • They also check medical records and review police reports of decedents for relevant details associated with death.
  • The candidates also prepare findings reports to be provided to law enforcement for helping any ongoing investigations.
  • Medical examiners must provide professional testimony in court related to the findings and autopsies of decedents whenever required.
  • Their duties also include deciding on releasing of decedents and prepare death certificates.
  • The additional responsibilities of medical examiners include attending courses and seminars in forensic medicine for continuous education.
  • They must stay updated on forensic pathology’s developments.

Requirements for a Medical Examiner

  • To apply for a medical examiner job position, the candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences, biology, or a related field.
  • They must also hold an MD or doctor of medicine degree.
  • The candidates must also have a minimum of four to seven years of residency training and internship, specializing in anatomical and forensic pathology.
  • The candidates must also complete USMLE or United States Medical Licensing Examination to hold this job position successfully.
  • It would be advantageous to hold the American Board of Pathology’s certification in anatomical and forensic pathology.
  • The candidates should also have an active and medical license in the state their desire to work.
  • Expertise in utilizing lab testing equipment is also necessary.
  • They must have a working understanding of applicable statutes and laws associated with forensic services.
  • The candidate also needs outstanding research and analytical abilities for the medical examiner job position.
  • The candidate also needs excellent written and oral skills for a medical examiner job role.

Interview Questions for a Medical Examiner

1 Can you explain the process you follow to test and analyze specimen samples. How will you identify the samples’ anomalies?

Ans. This response from the candidates assesses their diagnostic abilities.

2 Explain a moment when you presented testimony in court. Which findings did you reach?

Ans. The candidate’s answer shows their understanding of court procedures, evidence critical thinking abilities, and their capability to communicate effectively.

3 How will you remain updated with the forensic pathology’s developments?

Ans. It shows the applicant’s consistent professional development and training.

4 Explain the procedure involved while evaluating or examining a deceased person.

Ans. It exhibits the applicant’s accordance with established procedures and their work experience.

5 Can you conduct on-site investigations at crime sites or scenes comfortably?

Ans. This answer shows the applicant’s capability to perform tasks efficiently regardless of the disturbing or unpleasant nature of the crime scenes.

Future Scope as a Medical Examiner

Medical examiners are usually hired for hospitals, morgues, medical schools, and government agencies. These candidates are also frequently needed for off-site work, such as advising on abnormal autopsies findings of a deceased person in laboratories. Their duties might include consulting with CSI examiners at crime scenes or police stations. In addition, medical examiners should travel to present testimony in courtrooms.


Medical examiners or forensic pathologists examine and perform autopsies on decedents or deceased persons to identify the manner and cause of death. While interviewing the candidates for a medical examiner job position, the hiring managers usually prefer the candidates who can display a calm demeanor and testify their findings in court.

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