When an individual's death is not thought to be from natural causes coroners are called in to investigate. Coroners work in medical facilities and law enforcement agencies where they use the best scientific evidence available to determine both the cause and manner of an individual's death. They must have a solid background in anatomy as well as mathematics. They must be precise and highly attentive to detail and also be able to deal with a great deal of administrative work. In some cases they consult with and supervise outside experts before drawing final conclusions about causes of death.
Coroners must be sensitive when interacting with deceased individuals' family members and they are expected to keep all information about the deceased strictly confidential. Coroners often visit the scene of death determine the circumstances that led to the death apply scientific techniques to identify the remains and complete death certificates. In some cases they are the ones to notify the family of the deceased and they may also be called on to testify on court.
To become a coroner individuals must have at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry biology or another medically-related field. In most states however coroners are also required to have a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree as well as experience in forensic science. Licensing requirements that coroners must meet vary by state. In some but not all states the job of coroner is an elected position.
According to the website Payscale.com coroners new to the profession (five years or less) have a median salary of approximately $45000. However after they have worked for a longer time and gained additional experience they can earn as much as $87000.