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Forensic Autopsy Technician: Salary and Career Information

A forensic autopsy technician assists the forensic pathologist before, during and after an autopsy. A technician will also handle clerical duties involved in the autopsy process. The highest salary possibilities are for those who have obtained a bachelor's degree or higher and who have work experience specifically in autopsies and forensic science.

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Forensic Autopsy Technician Salary

A career as a forensic autopsy technician is a science-based profession which requires some advanced education. Jobs are usually found with government agencies, but a forensic autopsy technician may also work for hospitals or universities. Entry-level positions are possible with work experience in the field or a degree in a science-related area. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2012 that the average salary for most forensic science technicians, including those who assisted with autopsies, ranged from $32,200 to $85,210 annually.

Education

A career as a forensic autopsy technician requires formal knowledge and training in science, specifically chemistry and biology. To be competitive in this field a student will need to obtain at least an associate's degree. Most students will pursue a bachelor's degree and those who want to advance in their career will get a master's degree.

An associate's degree option is the Associate of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science. This program provides students with clinical and academic experience and knowledge in clinical laboratory science. Students will take courses that include:

  • Laboratory safety
  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • Body fluid analysis
  • Microbiology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology

A bachelor's degree in forensic science is an option for a 4-year degree. This program provides a student with training in physical science and biology with a focus on forensic science methods. Students take advanced classes in the areas of chemistry, anatomy, biology and forensic science.

A Master of Science in Forensic Science is a choice for a students who want to advance in their careers from technician to supervisor or pathologist. This program offers students the chance to further their academic knowledge while also getting experience in forensics and research. Areas of study for this program include:

  • Forensic biology
  • Criminalistics
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Toxicology

Forensic Autopsy Technician Career Information

Forensic autopsy technicians are assistants to the forensic pathologist. The technician will help with preparation of the room, paperwork and body and assist the pathologist with the actual autopsy. Duties may include filling out paperwork before, during and after an autopsy, setting up collection containers and labeling containers, weighing samples and organs and cleaning up after the autopsy. A technician may also be involved in accepting bodies into the morgue, contacting relatives of the deceased, preparing toe tags, assisting with evidence collection at crime scenes and transferring bodies to funeral homes.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics