Forensic Autopsy Technician: Salary and Career Information

Forensic autopsy technicians require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Requirements

A forensic autopsy technician assists the forensic pathologist before, during and after an autopsy. A technician also handles clerical duties involved in the autopsy process. These technicians typically need a bachelor's degree in forensic science, though some associate's degree programs are available. Many forensic autopsy technicians go on to earn master's degrees to increase their career advancement opportunities. Voluntary professional certification is available in the forensic science field.

Required Education Associate's degree at minimum; bachelor's degree is standard; master's degree for advancement
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2012-2022)* 6% for all forensic science technicians
Median Salary (2013)* $54,360 for all forensic science technicians

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Forensic Autopsy Technician Salary

Jobs in this field are usually found with government agencies, but a forensic autopsy technician may also work for hospitals or universities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2013 that the annual salary for most forensic science technicians, including those who assisted with autopsies, ranged from $32,570 to $88,880. Those working in the local government earned an average of $56,990 in 2013, while those at the state government level made $56,350 annually, on average.

Education

Forensic autopsy technicians need 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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