How to Become a Morgue Assistant

Taking care of people takes a very special type of person.

Someone who enjoys putting other first and upholding their dignity and respect, even in death, is a person that should consider to become a morgue assistant.

If this sounds like something that may interest you as a career, then take a look at the morgue assistant as a possible future career.

A morgue assistant is a person that assists other end of life professionals carry out their job duties.

Some possible places to find employment include a hospital, mortuary and the county coroner.

One of the most valuable traits a person can have in order to do well in this profession is a strong mind while you witness sights that many will never see.

Once you have this skill, you are more than halfway there to enter this interesting field.

Education Requirements to Become a Morgue Assistant

While there are not any educational requirements to become a morgue assistant, it is a wise idea to obtain a high school diploma or GED.

During high school classes should focus on biology math, computers and communications.

A part-time job during high school in an office or health care setting will also prove to be very valuable to future potential employers.

Some may choose to earn an Associate’s degree to further advance their career.

A degree in any of the sciences or health science will be enough to help further your understanding in the job duties.

Common classes for an Associate’s degree are anatomy, medical terminology, psychology, sociology, communication and English.

As the health care industry enters a digital age, a working knowledge of computers becomes more important every year.

The higher degree can allow an individual take on more complex tasks and gain more autonomy.

Having a higher degree with ample experience will make you a more qualified candidate in comparison to those who do not posses these credentials.

Morgue Assistant Job Description

The job duties of a morgue assistant are similar to those of an orderly or a CAN in a hospital.

Most times it is a cross between patient care and equipment technician.

The specific duties will differ depending on volume of bodies and how many people are employed in the department.

Places that have a smaller staff will have job duties that are more all-encompassing than those that work in very populated departments.

Here are some of the common job duties of a morgue assistant:

  • Storing and retrieving bodies from storage
  • General upkeep of facilities
  • Get bodies ready for autopsy
  • Sterilizing equipment
  • Communicate with hospital and families

Some other duties that are given to those with higher degrees include performing x-rays, assisting medical examiners in an autopsy and writing a report of the findings.

You also must be very understanding of people’s beliefs as you may be the person to bring the news of death to a loved one.

In some instances the morgue assistant will ride in an ambulance to retrieve a body that did not die at a hospital.

Morgue Assistant Salary and Career Path

The one thing to remember as you decide to become a morgue assistant, in terms of pay, is that there are not a large amount of people willing to take on such a job.

Due to this factor, pay is greater than average for those with only a high school education.

The average wage can be anywhere between $16,000 to $33,000 a year.

Higher amounts are given to those with advanced degrees and those with many years of experience.

To gain the experience needed in order to command a higher pay, consider shadowing a mortician and volunteering to do some of the work.

They will notice that you are more than capable of performing the work and may offer you a job after the volunteer term is over.

If you are looking for other possible jobs, consider:

  • Orderly
  • Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Laboratory Assistant
  • Mortician
  • Forensic Assistant

Taking a job as an entry level and working your way up is a viable option in this profession.

The most valuable skills in this job are communication, a strong mind, knowing yourself and respect for the fellow man.

After you have these essential skills, try applying at your local county coroner’s office, mortuary or hospital.

There will always be room for anyone willing to give the same attention to the living as to the deceased.

Welcome to the next step in your future career.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a morgue assistant do?

Morgue assistants help pathologists before, during and after an autopsy.

A morgue assistant’s duties start before the actual autopsy and continue after the procedure has been finished.

As a morgue assistant, you have to prepare everything, from the body to the instruments needed in the autopsy process and afterward, you must clean the instruments and make the paperwork needed for releasing or transferring the body.

You will work with corpses of all kinds and in all states of decomposition so you need a strong stomach.

Morgue assistants are sometimes involved in the transport and movement of bodies and collect evidence from the remains.

While preparing for a career in this field, you will learn to open chest and brain cavities, how to remove organs for study and how to take samples for lab analysis.

Depending on your place of employment, you may be asked to take forensic photography, fingerprint the body, sew up incisions and fill the body’s cranium with plaster.

Morgue assistants are also responsible for organizing the information, handling the paperwork, maintaining and cleaning the medical equipment and the morgue.

How much does a morgue assistant make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to morgue assistants but the pay may be similar to other medical assistants.

According to BLS, the median annual wage for medical assistants was $33,610 in May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors and as a morgue assistant you can make anywhere between less than $25,000 and more than $45,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become a morgue assistant?

There are no specific educational requirements for morgue assistant but completing a diploma or degree program in forensic or mortuary science will give you better job prospects.

If you want to become a morgue assistant, you can start right after high school with two years of post-secondary education that will cost you, on average, around $20,000 a year.

However, costs vary between $12,000 and $30,000, depending on the school and the program you choose.

What is the demand for morgue assistants?

The numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employment of forensic science technicians will likely grow by about 14 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average.

A degree in forensics or mortuary science can give you better job prospects.

How long does it take to become a morgue assistant?

There are no formal educational requirements for morgue assistants.

Some employers may hire morgue assistants that hold only a high school diploma while others demand post-secondary education like a two-year associate’s degree in mortuary science.

If you have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and some lab experience or another form of medical-technical training you will have good chances of finding entry-level employment in the field.

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