direct activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.
What Job Titles Coroners Might Have
- County Coroner
- Deputy Coroner
- Medical Examiner
What Coroners Do
- Perform medicolegal examinations and autopsies, conducting preliminary examinations of the body to identify victims, locate signs of trauma, and identify factors that would indicate time of death.
- Inquire into the cause, manner, and circumstances of human deaths and establish the identities of deceased persons.
- Complete death certificates, including the assignment of cause and manner of death.
- Observe and record the positions and conditions of bodies and related evidence.
- Observe, record, and preserve any objects or personal property related to deaths, including objects such as medication containers and suicide notes.
- Interview persons present at death scenes to obtain information useful in determining the manner of death.
- Arrange for the next of kin to be notified of deaths.
- Complete reports and forms required to finalize cases.
- Collect and document any pertinent medical history information.
- Direct activities of workers conducting autopsies, performing pathological and toxicological analyses, and preparing documents for permanent records.
- Confer with officials of public health and law enforcement agencies to coordinate interdepartmental activities.
- Provide information concerning the circumstances of death to relatives of the deceased.
- Locate and document information regarding the next of kin, including their relationship to the deceased and the status of notification attempts.
- Inventory personal effects recovered from bodies, such as jewelry or wallets.
- Coordinate the release of personal effects to authorized persons and facilitate the disposition of unclaimed corpses and personal effects.
- Remove or supervise removal of bodies from death scenes, using the proper equipment and supplies, and arrange for transportation to morgues.
- Testify at inquests, hearings, and court trials.
- Collect wills, burial instructions, and other documentation needed for investigations and for handling of the remains.
- Record the disposition of minor children, as well as details of arrangements made for their care.
- Witness and certify deaths that are the result of a judicial order.
What Coroners Should Be Good At
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
What Coroners Should Be Interested In
- Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
What Coroners Need to Learn
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
this page includes information from by the u.s. department of labor, employment and training administration (usdol/eta). used under the license.