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Autopsy Technician Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Education for autopsy technicians is available in the form of associate and bachelor's degrees offered at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities throughout the nation. Depending upon the path they wish to take, students can undertake degrees in mortuary science, clinical laboratory science or forensic science.

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Autopsy technicians assist pathologists, forensic scientists and morticians in examining bodies of deceased people in order to determine the cause of death. They work in hospitals, research centers, crime laboratories, coroners' offices, police departments and funeral homes.

10 Schools with Autopsy Technician Programs

These institutions offer autopsy technician programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
Columbia College Columbia, MO 4-year, Private Bachelor's Undergraduate $8,240
Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS 2-year, Public Associate's In-state Undergraduate $3,240; Out-of-state Undergraduate $8,040
Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Private Associate's, Bachelor's Undergraduate $17,625
Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science Pittsburgh, PA 2-year, Private Certificate, Associate's Undergraduate $19,925
California University of Pennsylvania California, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $9,936; Out-of-state Undergraduate $14,069
Albany State University Albany, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $5,490; Out-of-state Undergraduate $15,738
Florida International University Miami, FL 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate $8,912; Out-of-state Graduate $21,393
Wayne State University Detroit, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Doctoral In-state Graduate $14,165; Out-of-state Graduate $30,682
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $13,790; Out-of-state Undergraduate $22,210
DeVry University Phoenix, AZ 4-year, Private Bachelor's Undergraduate $19,568

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

There are a number of things to consider when looking for autopsy technician schools.

  • Students wanting to work in hospitals or at research centers should consider a Bachelor of Science degree in clinical laboratory science or biology.
  • Before students begin their college or university search, they should consider how long they want to be in school and whether they might eventually want to train for a higher or different position.
  • Some schools only offer undergraduate programs, and other schools only offer graduate programs; those interested in pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies may wish to choose a school that offers programs at both levels.
  • Some schools may offer graduates assistance with interview preparation and resume development, which may help graduates find employment.

Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science

These 2-year programs prepare graduates to work as autopsy technicians in funeral homes and morgues.

Bachelor's Degree in Mortuary Science

The Bachelor of Science in Biology with a mortuary science track is a 4-year program that usually requires three years of coursework in topics like microbiology, human anatomy, human physiology and English composition. The fourth-year curriculum focuses on mortuary science. Students generally spend this year studying at a nearby institute of mortuary science.

Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science

A bachelor of science degree in clinical laboratory science (CLS) generally requires completion of two years of a liberal arts education with a heavy science component, followed by two years of concentration in the student's preferred area of study. The science curriculum typically focuses on courses and clinical practica in human anatomy, pathology, immunology and hematology.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science

This degree program prepares students for employment in the areas of forensic science and criminal justice. Some schools collaborate with nearby police departments or pathology laboratories, giving students access to real cases. Other schools have combination programs that allow flexibility for students who have not yet decided which career path they want to follow. The first part culminates in a two-year certificate qualifying students to work as forensic autopsy technicians. Students may end their formal education at that point and go on to be professionals in their field. Those who wish to continue their education may enroll in the second part of the program, which leads to a B.S. in Chemistry or Biology. Forensic science curricula typically includes coursework in the sciences and criminology.

A degree in forensic science, clinical lab science or mortuary science can prepare individuals to pursue a career as an autopsy technician. Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in these disciplines are common.

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