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
04.07.2017
The essential functions of the Forensic Nurse Examiner include, but are not limited to: Identifies and coordinates services throughout Eskenazi Health to meet the acute needs of primary and secondary forensic patients Strives for improved...
04.21.2017
Supports Carilion's hallmarks of service excellence and quality for all job responsibilities. Assumes primary accountability for nursing coordination and provision of individualized care for forensic patients of all ages. Uses critical thinking...
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...
04.21.2017
- 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...
04.21.2017
- 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...
04.21.2017
- 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 -...
04.21.2017
- Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required VCU Health System is recruiting for Speech Pathologist PRN Petersburg Therapy Center Children's Hospital of...
03.12.2017
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...
04.21.2017
VCU Health System - Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Brook Road Campus, Main Therapy Center is hiring a full-time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist performs evaluations, develops a plan of care, implements therapeutic activities,...
03.06.2017
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...
02.25.2017
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...
04.21.2017
Responsible for carrying out technical and functional activities in Anatomic Pathology. This position reports to the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the Sr. Director of Clinical Support Services. II. PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND...
04.21.2017
Responsible for carrying out technical and functional activities in Anatomic Pathology. This position reports to the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the Sr. Director of Clinical Support Services. II. PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND...
04.21.2017
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...
03.24.2017
The Speech Pathologist is responsible for evaluating, treating, and counseling patients with speech, language, swallowing, or hearing disorders in accordance with professional and Methodist Healthcare standards of treatment. Models appropriate...
  1. Forensic Nurse Examiner Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The essential functions of the Forensic Nurse Examiner include, but are not limited to: Identifies and coordinates services throughout Eskenazi Health to meet the acute needs of primary and secondary forensic patients Strives for improved...
  2. FORENSIC NURSE EXAMINER Roanoke, VA Carilion Clinic
    Supports Carilion's hallmarks of service excellence and quality for all job responsibilities. Assumes primary accountability for nursing coordination and provision of individualized care for forensic patients of all ages. Uses critical thinking...
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. 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...
  6. 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 -...
  7. Speech Pathologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required VCU Health System is recruiting for Speech Pathologist PRN Petersburg Therapy Center Children's Hospital of...
  8. 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...
  9. Speech Pathologist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System - Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Brook Road Campus, Main Therapy Center is hiring a full-time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist performs evaluations, develops a plan of care, implements therapeutic activities,...
  10. 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...
  11. 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...
  12. PATHOLOGIST ASSISTANT Worcester, MA UMass Memorial Medical Center
    Responsible for carrying out technical and functional activities in Anatomic Pathology. This position reports to the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the Sr. Director of Clinical Support Services. II. PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND...
  13. PATHOLOGIST ASSISTANT Leominster, MA HealthAlliance Hospital
    Responsible for carrying out technical and functional activities in Anatomic Pathology. This position reports to the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the Sr. Director of Clinical Support Services. II. PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND...
  14. 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...
  15. Speech Pathologist (Supplemental) Job Memphis, TN Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
    The Speech Pathologist is responsible for evaluating, treating, and counseling patients with speech, language, swallowing, or hearing disorders in accordance with professional and Methodist Healthcare standards of treatment. Models appropriate...