How To Become a Morgue Technician
If you have an inquisitive mind and an interest in science and the human body, then a job as a morgue technician may appeal to you. A morgue technician is responsible for a wide range of duties within a morgue, from collecting bodies, to assisting with autopsies, writing reports, and releasing bodies for collection. A morgue technician is also known as a morgue assistant.
A morgue technician will assist a pathologist in an autopsy. They will also be responsible for the administrative running of a morgue, will keep tabs on all equipment, and ensure the morgue is kept in a tidy and orderly manner.
Education Requirements To Become a Morgue Technician
The educational requirements to become a morgue technician vary from state to state. To find out what the specific requirements are where you live, check out the National Funeral Director's Association (NFDA) Website. The educational requirements vary, in some places you will only need a high school diploma and will learn on the job, in others your will need to complete a four year Bachelor of Science degree.
Completing in a degree in a field like forensics will allow you to gain more involved roles and a higher rate of pay. Without a degree you will be limited to the tasks that you can complete inside a morgue. A degree with a major in forensics, nursing, or biology will give you a good knowledge base suitable for your future employment. There are also courses at community college which could help you along to path to become a morgue technician.
It's important to know that you are going to be comfortable working in a morgue before you commit to this career choice. So, for this reason it's important to gain some work experience in the field. Completing internships while at college is advised, and may lead to full time work after graduation.
After graduation, you will need to apply to become certified within your state. This will usually involve taking a state certification exam.
Morgue Technician Job Description
Morgue technicians assist in autopsy procedures, working to support the leading pathologist. Another important part of their job is managing the morgue. This means that must keep records on bodies which are arriving and leaving, make sure all paperwork is completed correctly, and also keep the morgue in a very clean and sterile condition. They keep inventory on equipment, and also order repairs and maintenance when required. Here are some of the duties that a morgue technician may complete:
- toxicology reports
- finger printing
- report writing
- cleaning a morgue
- keeping records
- database management
- dissecting organs
- taking x-rays
- sending samples for further testing
A typical day might begin with by arriving to work and checking emails, along with the days schedule. The technician would then make sure the morgue was clean, as well as sterile, for an upcoming autopsy. They may complete more than one autopsy in a day, and will always be working with a pathologist. Towards the end of the day they will complete any necessary paperwork, and again clean and sterilize the morgue before leaving for the day.
Morgue Technician Salary and Career Path
Most morgue technicians are employed in hospitals, some work within law enforcement, while others may work for funeral homes. The majority work full-time, and in most cases work a 40 hour week Monday through Friday.
Most start their career in larger facilities, such as hospital morgues. With experience, they can move into more advanced positions that give more responsibilities. While you get the opportunity to work hands on, there is also an administrative component to this role. Some morgue technicians go on to become pathologists themselves, others work as morticians or funeral directors. Some even go on to managerial or administrative roles within the health field.
Most morgue technicians earn a salary of between $35,000 and $40,000 a year. After a few years of employment, you can expect a pay raise. However, after around four years you will reach the top of your career and will not be able to advance much further unless you move into a different area of health or take on a supervisory position.
For those looking to become a morgue technician, employment prospects are good. If you are looking for a career in science, but don't want to complete postgraduate studies, a morgue technician may be a good choice of career.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics