How to Become an Autopsy Technician
Do you find yourself intrigued by the human body, while your friends are squeamish? Do you love all things scientific and medical, have an aptitude for research, and can't put down a good murder mystery? If this is you, a career as an autopsy technician could be something you find rewarding.
As an autopsy technician, you will assist in the examination of deceased persons. The autopsy will be headed by a pathologist, or medical examiner. Your role is primarily to find out the cause of death, you will also look for things like drugs or alcohol in the system, signs of violence or a struggle, or any other unusual elements. In the case of a suspicious death, it will be your role to gather evidence that may point to the cause of death, as well an any persons involved.
Education Requirements to Become an Autopsy Technician
To become an autopsy technician, you will need to have an undergraduate college degree. You major will need to be in science, preferably biology. A background in criminal justice can be helpful. Other than a science degree, there are not any formal requirements to gain entry into this field, however there are things you can do to help you in your search for employment.
Enrolling in a college that is strong in science is important. You will also want to make sure that they have a forensic science department. Even though these courses will only make up a part of your degree at college, it's still good to know that you will be able to complete lab work. Working with forensic scientists will be an educational, as well as inspirational, experience for you.
If you can, try and get some practical work experience. While it may be difficult to get work experience at a morgue, you may be able to complete internships over your summer. If not, look for a science based internship, or something within law enforcement.
Autopsy Technician Job Description
Most of an autopsy technician's work takes place in a laboratory or morgue. These are sterile environments, and much care must be taken to keep things this way. You will be working with hazardous chemicals, as well as body fluids, so safety is important. By now, you probably already know that you need a strong stomach to work as an autopsy technician. Here are some of the tasks you might find yourself completing while working as an autopsy technician.
- Preparing a body to be examined
- Assisting with an autopsy
- Recording events from the autopsy for the pathologist
- Collecting specimens
- Delivering samples to a laboratory
- Care of laboratory tools and equipment
- Cleaning the morgue or laboratory
- Releasing a body to a funeral home or relatives
- Seeing that requests of the deceased, such as organ donation, are met
An autopsy technician is an integral part of law enforcement, If you have an interest in criminal justice, then you will find this role rewarding. Knowing that you can the assist course of justice, as well as preventing future crimes from happening, is very satisfying indeed.
Autopsy Technician Salary and Career Path
An autopsy technician is most likely to be employed in a hospital or morgue, however they may also find employment at funeral homes, or within law enforcement. As your experience and skills grow, you will find yourself taking on more responsibilities as part of the autopsy process. Some become pathologists, move into hospital administration, or become teachers, or researchers within the field.
The median salary for an autopsy technician is $40,000 a year. A starting salary would be around $35,000 a year. Job opportunities are good, and employment is secure once you have academic qualification behind you.
Working as an autopsy technician can be a very rewarding career path, especially if you love science and medicine. It's challenging work, both mentally and physically. You'll need to have a good eye for detail, patience, as well as strong academic ability. Another advantage of a role as an autopsy assistant is that there is always room for further learning and improvement in your career. If you enjoy study, you might move on to complete a master's or doctorate program. Working as an autopsy technician brings many benefits, both a challenging job, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a contribution to your community, by being a part of criminal justice.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics