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What degree do I need to be a coroner?

The role of a coroner is crucial in forensic science and law enforcement. Coroners conduct full medical inspections and autopsies of deceased persons. They are instrumental in assisting in identifying unknown deceased individuals, solving crimes and determining how and when a person died. Coroners collect evidence at fatal accidents and suspected homicides and help remove the bodies.

Prerequisites to becoming a coroner

Before enrolling in college, find out the requirements to become a coroner in your state. While general requirements are the same, each state has requirements that may slightly differ from state-to-state. Start with a bachelor's degree. Some states elect their coroner while others appoint the coroner, so you may need people skills to run for office.

Requirements to become a coroner

The educational path should involve both medicine and law. The coroner, sometimes referred to as the medical examiner (M.E.), is a medical doctor who utilizes medical skills in law enforcement. Obtain a bachelor's degree in a medical-related field and complete the medical school requirements to become a licensed medical doctor (MD). The required years of residency must also be completed. While enrolled in an accredited university, take law-related and natural science-related classes as electives. A minimum of an associate's degree should be obtained in law enforcement, with focus on forensic science or criminal investigation. Even after completing all initial required education and obtaining required certifications, the education of a coroner is not over. Continuing education requirements are on-going and must be completed when required.

Other necessary skills

As a medical examiner, a coroner not only performs autopsies, but must write autopsy reports. Writing classes that are legal-oriented will assure a report that will stand up in court. The ability to be on-call 24 hours, 7 days a week is crucial. Tedious examination of evidence will require spending considerable time in a lab. While teamwork is required, so is the ability to work alone. The ability to maintain composure in terrible crime and accident scenes is critical to successful gathering of evidence. If you can successfully complete the lengthy education requirements and have the other skills, a coroner position can be ideal for you.


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