Medical Examiner Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

To be qualified to work as a medical examiner, one must hold an M.D. and be a licensed pathologist. After completing medical schools, trained doctors who want to pursue this career can get the training they need through a residency in pathology followed by a fellowship in forensic pathology.

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A medical examiner investigates suspicious fatalities and the medical evidence related to them. Medical school graduates can participate in fellowships and residencies related to forensic pathology to prepare for careers as medical examiners.

10 Schools with Pathology Programs

The following schools offer pathology residencies and/or forensic pathology fellowships:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered
University of South Florida Tampa, FL 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
Brown University Providence, RI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas TX 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
University of Louisville Louisville, KY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
Oregon Health and Science University Portland, OR 4-year, Public Residency
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
Saint Louis University St Louis, MO 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
University of Tennessee Memphis, TN 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship

School Selection Criteria

As aspiring medical examiners look for pathology residency and pathology programs, the following advice may help with the decision:

  • Students should look into the pass rates for graduates of the program on medical examiner certification exams.
  • Students may way to look for a school that has a close relationship with the local medical examiner's office, such as shared laboratory facility and/or consistent involvement in the training process.
  • Some schools encourage students to attend or present at national forensics meetings. Interested students may want to find out whether a school facilitates these kinds of outside enrichment opportunities.
  • It is important to consider the school's location; students who want to work specifically in a rural or urban setting may want to choose a school in their preferred area.

Residency Programs

After completing medical school and deciding to become a medical examiner, the next step is to complete a pathology residency. These programs last three to four years and consist of a combination of extensive clinical experience and scientific research in the field. At some schools, students have the choice to choose between anatomic and clinical pathology programs; anatomic programs are more relevant for aspiring medical examiners. While these programs require students to rotate through multiple clinical settings, rotations include autopsy and forensic pathology, providing essential training for future medical examiners. It is important to note that residents are paid a stipend.

Fellowship Programs

Forensic pathology fellowship programs last for one year and prepare fellows specifically for work as medical examiners. Fellows get hands-on training conducting medical examinations, as well as observational and practical experience with giving court testimony about medical examinations. Many programs also include regular journal clubs or discussion sessions in order to ensure that fellows stay up-to-state with the latest developments in the field. Like pathology residents, fellows are paid a stipend.

After completing an anatomical pathology residency and a forensic pathology fellowship, trained doctors are prepared to become licensed medical examiners. Location and outside enrichment opportunities are two important factors to think about when deciding on a program.

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