Coroners hold various responsibilities related to both administrative and investigative duties, depending on their locale and jurisdiction. Some coroners work directly with law enforcement and forensic professionals to investigate details related to the cause of death of an individual.
Other duties of coroners include running and analyzing specific medical reports, overseeing the storage and even disposal of unclaimed bodies, and testifying in court cases.
In many states, coroners are elected officials, although some states have switched to hiring coroners. In all cases, they work on behalf of the public’s interest.
The educational requirements for a coroner vary by location, but in most situations, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required, while many coroners hold upper-level degrees.
Coroners certify the cause and manner of death and issue permits for disposal of bodies. They perform administrative assignments such as filing detailed reports with other agencies in reference to deaths that are relevant to public health and safety. A coroner may facilitate tissue and organ donation and participate in public service presentations.
Coroners work closely with families, health care providers, forensics specialists, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and funeral homes. They perform and analyze physical examinations, toxicology screenings and pathology results.
A coroner may be responsible for a variety of duties, including:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession has a greater than average growth expectation of 20% through 2018, with an expectation of over 108,000 projected job openings.
The U.S. Department of Labor notes that in 2009, coroners earned a median salary of about $50,000. Depending on region and employer, a coroner’s salary ranges from around $31,000 to over $100,000.
A coroner’s salary level is also influenced by the amount of experience and whether the coroner is employed by the government, private industry or a hospital. Private industry and hospitals tend to pay more than government positions with all employers typically offering additional health benefits.