Educational Requirements for a Coroner
To gain the necessary state licensing as general physicians, prospective coroners must attend a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Each medical school has its own admission requirements, but most mandate that applicants complete at least three years of specific undergraduate coursework in natural and social sciences, mathematics and humanities. Medical school involves four years of full-time study, approximately half of which is spent in hospitals and other health care settings observing licensed physicians and performing patient care tasks under direct supervision.
At the conclusion of the anatomic and clinical pathology residency, prospective coroners take an examination to gain board certification. Once credentialed, certified pathologists then enter the final phase of education necessary to become a coroner: the subspecialty fellowship. These programs last for 12 months and allow pathologists to gain additional training and experience determining cause of death and collecting evidence for criminal investigations. The American Board of Pathology requires that pathologists complete this training at a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. As of January 2011, only 37 of such programs existed in the United States. After completing the forensic pathology fellowship, prospective coroners take a final certification exam.
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