Coroner Careers

According to O*NET Online,  a coroner is an individual who directs activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine the cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.

Coroners are often the person who makes the decision to initiate an investigation if they determine the cause of death to be questionable.

There are some areas that allow coroners the authorization to issue a subpoena and call a jury if necessary.

Coroners must work closely with law enforcement officials and public health officials.

Coroner Responsibilities

Local law determines the responsibilities of the coroner.

In some areas, coroners are called medical examiners and the person performing coroner duties are physicians within the community.

There are some communities that do not require coroners to be physicians and the individual will direct others to perform the necessary medical tests.

How to Become a Coroner

Coroner Careers

Coroners have many responsibilities including directing investigations in order to find causes of deaths that are violent, accidental, or unexplained.

The coroner will direct the technologist and physicians who perform tests and autopsies.

Additionally, a coroner may perform an autopsy or other test to determine the time and cause of death and complete the certificate of death.

Education Requirements

Coroner training will require some type of formal education.

This includes a bachelor’s degree in a field such as criminology, anatomy, medicine, forensic science, experimental pathology, pathology, physiology, or pre-medicine.

For those who are interested in becoming a coroner, it is recommended that they start preparing for college while still in high school.

Taking college preparatory courses, especially in the science and math fields, can be extremely beneficial.

Some helpful courses to take in high school include physiology, anatomy, computer applications, foreign languages such as Latin, first aid, and an introduction to health care course.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
New Hampshire40$73,250$35.21$89,320$55,850
New Jersey60$59,120$28.42$77,780$48,150
New Mexico160$56,780$27.30$80,870$29,820
New York730$82,100$39.47$104,330$62,510
North Carolina490$51,300$24.67$64,030$38,720
South Carolina130$49,490$23.79$65,890$36,310
West Virginia110$50,120$24.10$66,990$34,710
Puerto Rico130$35,890$17.26$49,030$25,360

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is Oregon, where the average salary is $93,900.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • Oregon - $93,900
  • California - $93,630
  • Illinois - $91,380
  • Massachusetts - $87,500
  • New York - $82,100
  • Connecticut - $81,760
  • Minnesota - $76,890
  • Colorado - $75,150
  • Washington - $74,990
  • Maryland - $74,600
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Forensic Science Technicians, OCC Code 19-4092, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Becoming a Coroner

Most areas will require that the coroner be a medical doctor.

This means that someone seeking this position will need to go to medical school and become a licensed physician.

This can take up to 8 years of additional schooling beyond high school to complete.

In order to enter medical school a person will first have to complete their bachelor’s degree.

It is recommended that a person major in pre-medicine or another type of science degree.

A person who chooses a liberal arts major will need to make sure to take the required chemistry, biology, and physics courses.

In addition to education requirements, to be a coroner one will also need to have work experience in the medical field.

Most places require a person who is interested in becoming a coroner to have a certification in forensic pathology and a medical license.

On-the-job training is often required as well.

Coroner positions may be an appointed position or an elected position.

This will be determined by the area that a person lives in.

Most often, it is required that a coroner remain on call to help police officers and health officials when the need arises.

Michael Morales

About Michael Morales

Michael Morales is the Webmaster and Editor in Chief for With a strong background in Web Publishing and Internet Marketing, he currently works as an independent consultant. A former paramedic and ems educator, he enjoys punishing himself doing triathlons and endurance sports. Michael currently lives in sunny Northern California, home of the highest tax rates in the world.

One Response to Coroner Careers

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    Casen Marsh #

    Coroners play a vital role in our legal system and society by helping to ensure that the truth is revealed in cases of suspicious or unexplained deaths.

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