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About the Job

Direct activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.

It is also Called

  • Medical Legal Investigator (MLI)
  • Medical Investigator
  • Medical Examiner
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • Forensic Medical Examiner
  • Elected County Coroner/Chief Medical Examiner
  • District Medical Examiner
  • Deputy Coroner Investigator
  • Deputy Coroner
  • County Coroner
View All

What They Do

  • Witness and certify deaths that are the result of a judicial order.
  • Record the disposition of minor children, as well as details of arrangements made for their care.
  • Collect wills, burial instructions, and other documentation needed for investigations and for handling of the remains.
  • Testify at inquests, hearings, and court trials.
  • Remove or supervise removal of bodies from death scenes, using the proper equipment and supplies, and arrange for transportation to morgues.
  • Coordinate the release of personal effects to authorized persons and facilitate the disposition of unclaimed corpses and personal effects.
  • Inventory personal effects recovered from bodies, such as jewelry or wallets.
  • Locate and document information regarding the next of kin, including their relationship to the deceased and the status of notification attempts.
  • Provide information concerning the circumstances of death to relatives of the deceased.
  • Confer with officials of public health and law enforcement agencies to coordinate interdepartmental activities.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Independence, but also value Achievement and Support in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Preparation Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in California was $79,340 with most people making between $46,020 and $115,410

Outlook

1.02%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 32,500 people in California. It is projected that there will be 35,800 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 330 openings due to growth and about 460 replacement openings for approximately 790 total annual openings.