Deputy Coroner: Job Description and Education Requirements

Deputy coroners work to determine the manner and cause of death in accordance with state guidelines. Coroners' responsibilities include both investigative duties and mortuary duties. Education requirements vary by state, ranging from a GED or high school diploma to a master's degree.

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Deputy Coroner Job Description

Deputy coroners serve as a liaison between law enforcement and the morgue, focusing on examining the remains of a body in order to determine both how and why a death occurred. Typical duties associated with deputy coroner positions may change from state to state, but usually they include identification of the body, photographing the crime scene, notification of the next of kin and transportation of the body to the morgue.

Deputy Coroner Responsibilities

The main duties of the deputy coroner are to determine the manner and cause of death, whether natural or violent, as well as to identify the remains. This may includes investigative work at the death scene, and it may include interpretation of autopsy results. Deputy coroners are not necessarily required to perform autopsies, but may if they are also board certified pathologists. Once the case has been solved, it is the deputy coroner's duty to prepare forms such as the deceased's death certificate, plus any additional state or local forms required.

Deputy Coroner Education Requirements

Depending on the state where the deputy coroner is based, there may be no specific degree requirements for the position except a high school diploma or GED. However, same states require deputy coroners to have a bachelor's or master's degree in anthropology, criminal justice or forensic anthropology.

Many states require deputy coroners to obtain certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI). The ABMDI offers entry-level coroners who have a high school diploma or a GED and at least 640 hours of death scene experience the opportunity to sit for the Registry Certification examination. More experienced coroners may earn the Board Certification credential. To sit for the Board exam, applicants must be Registry credentialed, have an associate's degree from an accredited institution, and have 4,000 hours of experience.

Salary and Job Outlook

The field of compliance officers, which includes coroners and deputy coroners, is projected to grow by 5% during the 2012-2022 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that the median salary of all compliance officers in May 2012 was $62,020 a year.

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