Employment Opportunity

Forensic Autopsy Specialist

County of San Diego Medical Examiner, CA

Salary: $22.01 - $27.06 Hourly

Final Filing Date: Continuous

To assist Deputy Medical Examiners with autopsies; to accept, process, and release deceased persons; and to perform related work as required. Positions in this classification are found exclusively in the Medical Examiner’s Office. This is the journey level technical class in the Forensic Autopsy Specialist series. Under general supervision, incumbents in this class perform a variety of autopsy and examining room duties, which involve the handling, weighing, storing, and transporting of bodies, organs, tissues and evidence. Some positions perform embalming.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


  • Prepares autopsy stations, instruments and equipment for Deputy Medical Examiners or other pathologists performing autopsies.
  • Assists in the performance of autopsies, which includes opening and closing bodies, obtaining blood and fluid samples, excising and weighing organs, and labeling and storing specimens.
  • Transports collected specimens to the toxicology and histopathology laboratories.
  • Collects evidence taken during a homicide autopsy.
  • Fingerprints, photographs, and creates digital X-ray images of decedents.
  • Assists in decedent receipt and release.
  • Lifts and transports decedents within the building by hand and/or equipment.
  • Prepares decedents for autopsy.
  • Performs sanitation and housekeeping duties in the examining room and morgue.
  • Prepares written record of daily work activities.
  • Maintains logs, digital X-rays files, charts, and evidence in a data management system.
  • May serve as a witness in court regarding procedures performed.
  • Provides responsive, high quality service to County employees, representatives of outside agencies and members of the public by providing accurate, complete and up-to-date information, in a courteous, efficient and timely manner.
  • May embalm decedents.


  • Possession of a current, valid California Embalmer’s License; AND; Experience as a journey level embalmer, having embalmed approximately 150 cases within the past five (5) years, including coroner-type cases (motor vehicle fatalities, homicides, suicide, decomposed bodies), AND, experience in pathological/forensic techniques,
  • OR, At least two (2) years of experience working with a medical examiner/coroner's office, assisting with autopsies, which involved frequent direct contact with deceased persons.
  • A valid California Class C driver’s license, which must be maintained throughout employment in this class, is required at time of appointment, or the ability to arrange necessary and timely transportation for field travel. Employees in this class may be required to use their own vehicle.
  • A current and valid California Embalmer’s License.
  • Knowledge of:
    • Autopsy procedures
    • Practice of specimen collection, preservation, and storage
    • Theory of anatomy, histology, embryology and dissection
    • Hygiene, to include sanitation and public health practices
    • Theory and practice of pathology, bacteriology, and restorative surgery
    • Judicial requirements and laboratory techniques and policies regarding the chain of custody for evidence handling and preservation.
    • Laws, health codes and regulations relating to embalming
    • Health precautions and laboratory procedures related to examining room and morgue operations
    • Digital X-ray photograph
    • General Management System (GMS) in principle and in practice
    • County customer service objectives and strategies
    • Telephone, office, and online etiquette
    • Current technology and trends in the profession
  • Skills and Abilities to:
    • Use special equipment and instruments required for autopsies and specimen collection
    • Obtain digital X-ray images
    • Photograph decedents and evidence
    • Collect and label specimens for laboratory examination
    • Collect and preserve evidence taken during a homicide autopsy, and other law-enforcement related deaths
    • Observe and report upon conditions found while handling a decedent, which may be of value in an autopsy investigation
    • Enter information into a data management system
    • Assist pathologists in the performance of autopsies
    • Communicate effectively orally and in writing
    • Establish effective working relationships with management, employees, employee representatives and the public representing diverse cultures and backgrounds
    • Treat County employees, representatives of outside agencies and members of the public with courtesy and respect
    • Assess the customer’s immediate needs and ensure customer’s receipt of needed services through personal service or making appropriate referral
    • Exercise appropriate judgment in answering questions and releasing information; analyze and project consequences of decisions and/or recommendations
    • Communicate effectively with a variety of individuals representing diverse cultures and backgrounds and function calmly in situations which require a high degree of sensitivity, tact and diplomacy
  • Desirable Traits: Communicates Effectively, Knowledge Worker, Customer Focused, Values and Respects Others, Drives to Excel, Teamwork and Collaboration, Continuous Learning, Demonstrates Ethical Behavior, Supportive of Change

Do you have the Education Required? See available on-line and campus-based degree programs now!

How to apply: Apply online.

Posted: April 23, 2016

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