There are several jobs that a lot of people may turn down. This may be due to risks involved in doing the work or simply because of the nature of the job. Death investigation may be categorized as one of those jobs because of the thought of inspecting dead bodies. It might sound scary for many; but for some professionals it’s just a part of what they do for a living. Coroners are hired to determine the cause of death of some individuals and do further investigations if needed. This may be applicable to medico legal cases. If your curiosity and inspective nature outweigh your nerves, then this may be the right job for you. Here are the steps to take to be on your way of becoming a coroner.
How to become a coroner
1 Meet the necessary qualifications and requirements.
The initial step to take is to find out what necessary qualifications and requirements are needed in your area. You can consult with a local coroner or gather information from your state government. Levels of preparation may differ from an area to another. It’s always good to be fully aware of the requirements, this way you can be prepared and you can be sure that right actions will be taken towards the desired career you have chosen.
2 Get the appropriate education.
- If you are still in high school, focus on subjects such as biology, chemistry, and mathematics. These are essential to get a good start and to prepare yourself for the course you might take in college.
- Educational requirements may differ depending on regulations set by your state or the area where you want to work. Since the nature of the job is largely related to the medical field, a good pre-medical program would be the ideal choice for your tertiary education. If this course is unavailable, take up a degree in biology.
- Coroners also have to deal with criminal justice and legal cases, taking up law-related subjects or minoring in criminal justice should also be considered. Most coroners have a legal or medical degree.
- If you are thinking of getting a medical degree, you must successfully pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to be a qualified enrollee in medical schools. Usually, students take this examination during their junior years to have sufficient time to apply in medical schools.
- A medical degree takes 4 years to finish. The course is usually divided into two phases. The first phase will last for two years. In this period, students will spend most of their time inside classrooms and laboratories. The second half is for the students’ specialization. Forensic biology would be an excellent choice. You can also learn from medical examiners and coroners in your residency period.
- You must take advantage of every learning opportunity in your internship period and acquire knowledge from experienced physicians and coroners.
3 Apply for a license in your state.
- The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is administered to applicants who desire to practice as medical physicians in the country. This examination aims to assess the applicant’s ability to apply acquired knowledge and skills in the practice of the profession.
- This is a three-step examination:
- The first step evaluates basic knowledge and competency of the applicants.
- The second step assesses whether applicants can apply basic medical knowledge, clinical understanding, and skills to areas of health promotion and disease prevention.
- Step 3 is the final examination to gage applicants’ ability to assume independent responsibility in the delivery of medical care to clients.
4 Gain experience.
Expect to be employed as an assistant in the beginning of your career.
- Working alongside experienced coroners and some medical examiners can greatly help in improving your skills in the profession.
- Take advantage to learn from various cases you encounter.
- Grab opportunities to do hands-on experience while you have the advantage of being under the supervision of experienced personnel.
5 Apply for vacant positions in the government or any available institution.
- In most states, hired coroners are required to participate in a coroner training program.
- The Medico legal Death Investigators Training Program is used by some states. This program takes about 40 hours to finish and can be completed in a single week.
Lessons on injury recognition, suicides, abuse recognition, and death investigation are provided in this program.
- Coroners are also encouraged to undergo continuing education courses. Some of these courses are offered by the Federal Department of Criminal Justice and State Coroners’ Education Board. These courses can ensure that coroners are kept aware of updates and changes in the death investigation industry.
- Death Investigators Certification may also be pursued by interested coroners.
- One organization that offers this kind of certification is The American Board of Medico legal Death Investigators (ABMDI) which is an independent professional certification board that sets standards for the practice of medicolegal death investigators.
- A coroner must pass the administered examination that covers topics on death investigation, law enforcements, and adhering to legal standards.
- Coroners must then keep their certifications active by attending continuing education coursework and complying requirements for recertification.
Once hired you must also be ready to be summoned in court hearings on some occasion. This is why knowledge in criminal justice and law is a must for coroners.
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