Coroners

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Also known as:
Air Pollution Compliance Inspector, Compliance Investigator, Driver's License Examiner, EEO Officer, Environmental Compliance Inspector, Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Representative, Immigration Investigator, Inspector of Weights and Measures

ABOUT CORONER CAREERS
Video transcript

Coroners are medical detectives. They work with other investigators to find the cause of deaths that are accidental, violent, or unexplained. The coroner is a public official who may be appointed or elected. When a coroner is also a physician, he or she is called a medical examiner.

The coroner may visit the scene of the death and confer with law enforcement and public health officials. Coroners perform or supervise autopsies and highly specialized lab tests. With all available facts in hand, it's up to the coroner to assign a cause of death and issue a death certificate.

The coroner may be called to testify in court. Because their work may be used to convict a person of a crime, coroners need to be methodical and detail oriented. The hours can be irregular, and there's a lot of paperwork. Dealing with relatives of the deceased requires sensitivity and respect, and can be emotionally draining.

Local laws define the coroner's duties. A college degree is a minimum requisite and a medical background is a plus. Some jurisdictions require that coroners have a background in forensic pathology. Many state coroners' associations offer certification programs. The work of coroners is an important service to the living. It can help to solve crimes and prevent future homicides or accidental deaths.

SNAPSHOT
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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Testify at inquests, hearings, and court trials.

Arrange for the next of kin to be notified of deaths.

Remove or supervise removal of bodies from death scenes, using the proper equipment and supplies, and arrange for transportation to morgues.

Confer with officials of public health and law enforcement agencies to coordinate interdepartmental activities.

Observe and record the positions and conditions of bodies and related evidence.

Interview persons present at death scenes to obtain information useful in determining the manner of death.

Collect and document any pertinent medical history information.

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.

Locate and document information regarding the next of kin, including their relationship to the deceased and the status of notification attempts.

Complete reports and forms required to finalize cases.

Coordinate the release of personal effects to authorized persons and facilitate the disposition of unclaimed corpses and personal effects.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
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.
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.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.