Forensic Pathologist


Forensic pathologists, or medical examiners, are specially trained physicians who examine the bodies of people who died suddenly, unexpectedly or violently. The forensic pathologist is responsible for determining the cause (the ultimate and immediate reasons for the cessation of life) and manner of death (homicide, suicide, accidental, natural or unknown).To determine the identity of the victim and the time, manner and cause of death, the forensic pathologist:Studies the medical historyEvaluates crime scene evidence including witness statementsPerforms an autopsy to uncover evidence of injury or diseaseCollects medical and trace evidence from the body for further analysis

Job Prospect


Work Environment

Some forensic pathologists work for the city, county or federal government, while others work in hospitals, medical schools or with a private or group practice that contracts autopsy services to government agencies.Forensic pathologists spend most of their time in the lab, performing autopsies or examining tissue samples under the microscope. This can involve standing for extended periods and working with small tools.A typical workday can last 10 to 12 hours or longer, particularly if the forensic pathologist must examine a distant death site. Part of the workday also may include writing official reports and making court appearances.The physical demands are not great, but over time, the forensic pathologist may become emotionally affected by continual exposure to graphic violence

General and Personal Skills Required

Average Salary

Cost of Training

Recommended Level of Education


Professional Skills / Tools Required

Associated Disciplines

Medicine & Suggery