Forensic Pathologist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Forensic Pathologist

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Job Description


Forensic pathologists, also known as medical examiners, are the professionals who determine the cause of death for a person who died unexpectedly or violently.

The pathologist examines the person's dead body to determine the cause of death – that is, the exact reason.

They are also responsible for ascertaining if the death was natural, accidental, a murder, or a suicide – the “manner of death.”

Forensic pathologists work closely with law enforcement and may be appointed as medical examiners at the city, county, or state level.

After meticulous evidence collection, the forensic pathologist often presents, explains, and defends their findings in a courtroom.

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Responsibilities

 

The forensic pathologist uses a complex mix of medical and forensic techniques to determine how the person died.

This usually includes conducting an autopsy, examining crime scene evidence and witness testimony, collecting medical evidence from the cadaver, analyzing other evidence like ballistics or toxicology, analyzing blood (serology), and utilizing DNA technology. 

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perceptiveness

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

Forensic pathologists work in the laboratory most of the time, often standing or sitting for extended periods of time.

Typical work includes conducting autopsies and using a microscope to analyze tissue samples. A workday may range from 10 to 12 hours or longer and may involve travel to a remote death site.

The pathologist needs to write clear, thorough, accurate reports. Occasional court appearances are necessary.

A forensic pathologist may work for a medical school, hospital, or other private organization that provides autopsy services to the government.

Others work directly for the government at the city, county, state, or federal level.

Forensic pathologists undergo difficult training requiring a minimum of 13 years. While physical demands from the job are minimal, these experts are subjected to extremely disturbing sites, intensely unpleasant odors of decay, and the repeated sight of human bodies mangled by violence.

The profession calls for strong nerves and may have long-term emotional effects on those who practice it.

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
02.21.2017
Assists the pathologist in the performance of dissection, dictation, preparation and evaluation of surgical and postmortem specimens for microscopic diagnosis. Employs thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, clinical theory and technique...
06.23.2017
- Masters degree is required - Appropriate licensure is required VCU Health System's Speech Therapy is seeking an hourly (PRN) Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is an experienced therapist who is able to independently adapt...
06.23.2017
- Masters degree is required - Certification required per job description - Licensed (or eligible) as an Occupational Therapist in VA - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication...
06.23.2017
- Masters degree is required - Appropriate licensure is required - Certification required per job description - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required -...
06.23.2017
Under the combined supervision of the medical director and supervisor of the cutting room, the Pathologist Assistant assists in the gross description and dissection of all types of tissues sent to the surgical pathology laboratory for analysis,...
06.23.2017
The Speech Pathologist is responsible for the ethical, cost effective management, delivery, documentation, and outcomes of professional speech pathology services to agency patients, in accordance with an established physical plan of care and in...
05.02.2017
Master's degree is preferred Recent experience in the specialty area is required At the direction and under the supervision of a Pathologist (s), a Pathologists' Assistant may perform the following tasks and assume the responsibility for...
06.23.2017
Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
06.22.2017
Description Role Purpose: The Speech Therapist delivers quality therapy services upon physician referral by performing evaluations and developing individual treatment plans and goals to maximize functional outcomes. Implements the treatment...
06.23.2017
The Speech Pathologist evaluates and treats inpatient and out patient clients performing screenings, evaluations and modified barium swallows. The speech pathologist is responsible for documenting all age appropriate patient care approximately in...
04.13.2016
The Speech Language Pathologist evaluates patients regarding the application of a wide variety of therapeutic techniques for rehabilitation of speech, language, hearing and oral motor disorders Minimum Qualifications: Master's degree in Speech...
06.23.2017
The Home Health Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), under the direction of the Rehab Director, is responsible for evaluating, planning, and implementing medically prescribed treatment for patients in the homecare setting. Responsible for assessing...
05.12.2017
The Speech Pathologist is responsible for assuring that the PNHS values of Head + Heart, Together, are achieved through daily departmental operations. This includes, but is not limited to, direct patient care, professional growth and development,...
06.20.2017
Mercy Hospital has an opening for a casual, day, 8 hour shift, Speech Language Pathologist. This person will evaluate all patients referred regarding language, communication or swallowing disorders. They will establish and provide treatment...
06.23.2017
The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is responsible for the clinical aspects of the speech/language therapy services including accurate diagnosis of communication deficits; evaluation of communication, cognitive and swallowing functions; and...
  1. Pathologist Assistant Gastonia, NC CaroMont Health
    Assists the pathologist in the performance of dissection, dictation, preparation and evaluation of surgical and postmortem specimens for microscopic diagnosis. Employs thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, clinical theory and technique...
  2. Speech Pathologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is required - Appropriate licensure is required VCU Health System's Speech Therapy is seeking an hourly (PRN) Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is an experienced therapist who is able to independently adapt...
  3. Speech Pathologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is required - Certification required per job description - Licensed (or eligible) as an Occupational Therapist in VA - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication...
  4. Speech Pathologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is required - Appropriate licensure is required - Certification required per job description - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required -...
  5. Pathologist Assistant Boston, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    Under the combined supervision of the medical director and supervisor of the cutting room, the Pathologist Assistant assists in the gross description and dissection of all types of tissues sent to the surgical pathology laboratory for analysis,...
  6. Speech Pathologist Oklahoma City, OK INTEGRIS Health
    The Speech Pathologist is responsible for the ethical, cost effective management, delivery, documentation, and outcomes of professional speech pathology services to agency patients, in accordance with an established physical plan of care and in...
  7. Pathologist Assistant Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Master's degree is preferred Recent experience in the specialty area is required At the direction and under the supervision of a Pathologist (s), a Pathologists' Assistant may perform the following tasks and assume the responsibility for...
  8. Speech Pathologist Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Healthcare
    Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
  9. Speech Pathologist Oklahoma City, OK St. Anthony Hospital
    Description Role Purpose: The Speech Therapist delivers quality therapy services upon physician referral by performing evaluations and developing individual treatment plans and goals to maximize functional outcomes. Implements the treatment...
  10. Speech Language Pathologist Melrose, MA Hallmark Health System
    The Speech Pathologist evaluates and treats inpatient and out patient clients performing screenings, evaluations and modified barium swallows. The speech pathologist is responsible for documenting all age appropriate patient care approximately in...
  11. Speech Language Pathologist Hendersonville, NC Pardee Hospital
    The Speech Language Pathologist evaluates patients regarding the application of a wide variety of therapeutic techniques for rehabilitation of speech, language, hearing and oral motor disorders Minimum Qualifications: Master's degree in Speech...
  12. Home Health Speech Pathologist Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
    The Home Health Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), under the direction of the Rehab Director, is responsible for evaluating, planning, and implementing medically prescribed treatment for patients in the homecare setting. Responsible for assessing...
  13. Pathologist, Speech and Language St. Louis Park, MN Park Nicollet Health Services
    The Speech Pathologist is responsible for assuring that the PNHS values of Head + Heart, Together, are achieved through daily departmental operations. This includes, but is not limited to, direct patient care, professional growth and development,...
  14. Casual - Speech Language Pathologist Moose Lake, MN Mercy Hospital - Moose Lake
    Mercy Hospital has an opening for a casual, day, 8 hour shift, Speech Language Pathologist. This person will evaluate all patients referred regarding language, communication or swallowing disorders. They will establish and provide treatment...
  15. Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Elkin, NC Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital
    The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is responsible for the clinical aspects of the speech/language therapy services including accurate diagnosis of communication deficits; evaluation of communication, cognitive and swallowing functions; and...