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What does a Coroner do?

A coroner, or forensic medical examiner, confirms and certifies the death of someone residing or found within their jurisdiction. They may also conduct or order an investigation to help aid in determining the cause of death as well as confirm the identity of any unknown persons. Key responsibilities for a coroner are to determine the manner and cause by which the death occurred. This is usually done by performing an autopsy.


A proper autopsy generally proceeds by the coroner inspecting the body of the deceased to discover and identify any marks or other observed evidence that may inform the coroner of how that person died. Other job duties a coroner may be responsible for are of visiting the death scene, supervising the transportation and movement of the corpse, identifying human remains, operating and being in charge of crime scene equipment, and completing death certificates. In some cases, the coroner may be in charge of notifying the family members or next of kin of the deceased.

To be a coroner you should be able to work under stressful conditions, be able to handle tough situations and have a very good eye for details. Depending on where you live or want to practice as a coroner, it may be an elected position. To become a coroner you must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as forensic science, criminology, experimental pathology, or pre-medicine. You coursework will generally include subjects like chemistry, biology, law and humanities in addition to forensics.

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