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A morgue technician, also known as an autopsy technician, assists coroners, medical examiners and pathologists. This professional helps discover the reason for an individual’s death through studying specimens, records, and photographs of the body, ultimately helping to prepare an autopsy report. A morgue technician can earn an annual salary of about $40,000, according to CSI-Degrees.net. In addition to performing tests on the deceased, a morgue technician may also assist with administrative duties such as filing reports, coding specimens and working with funeral directors.
Graduate from high school. If you do not have a high school diploma, you can also get a General Educational Development, GED, certificate.
Earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Select a science major with a specialization in biology, biochemistry, forensics, mortuary science, medical laboratory science, photography or crime scene investigations. Because you may need to deal with the families of the deceased, taking psychology and communications courses may also prove beneficial. The U.S. Department of Justice states you should also consider completing college courses on collecting trace evidence, toxicology and biology specimens, controlled substances, genetics and pharmacology.
Seek certification from an institute the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board has accredited, such as the National Institute of Justice, NIJ; National Forensic Science Technology Center, NFSTC; or the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, AAFS. Your college may assist you with gaining certification, which can help prove your competency.
Gain experience in a health or medical field. Morgue technician is an entry-level position, requiring at least a year of experience, according to Education-Portal. Health- and medical-related fields that can help you gain experience include working in a hospital lab, morgue, college anatomy department, veterinary lab or doctor’s office lab. Another way to gain experience is to become an intern at a medical examiner or pathologist’s office.
Seek employment. In addition to hospitals and morgues, check research facilities, law enforcement offices, government agencies, development laboratories and funeral homes.
- SchoolsInTheUSA: Autopsy Technician
- CSI-Degree: Become an Autopsy Technician
- CSI-Degrees: Become a Morgue Assistant
- Education-Portal: Forensic Morgue Technician: Job Descriptions and Requirements
- U.S. Department of Justice; Education and Training in Forensic Science: A Guide for Forensic Science Laboratories, Educational Institutions, and Students; June 2004
- Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images