Medical examiner’s salary is around $60,000 in the United States. Medical examiners investigate the cadavers of people with unexpected or suspicious deaths. They are highly trained doctors, also known as forensic pathologists or forensic scientists, and are compensated based on their medical training. The medical examiner’s salary ranges between $75,000 and $200,000, depending on their employer and their experience. According to the BLS, there is a projected 24% increase in the demand for physicians, including medical examiners, from 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the 14% projected growth rate for all occupations. Keep reading for more information about medical examiner salary and career requirements.
Medical examiner job description
The primary responsibility of medical examiners, or coroners, is to identify the cause of death, whether natural, intentional or accidental. They are trained as forensic pathologists. Their work is mainly about examining cadavers to find the cause of injury. They also serve as anatomical pathologists as they have to study organs, cells, tissues, and bodily fluids. These studies are then used to understand natural deaths and diseases. Medical examiners also analyze DNA and blood using microscopes in laboratories, conduct autopsies, and testify in court.
How much does a medical examiner make ?
Average medical examiner salary
According to the O*Net database list of the US Department of Labor, the median salary for medical examiners or coroners was $60,740, or around $29.20 per hour, in 2011. However, the medical examiners working in larger cities are likely to earn more.
Medical examiner salary in the USA
According to PayScale, a medical examiner earns a median salary of around $79,946. Their typical salary ranges between $29,120 and $185,250. However, the basic medical examiner’s salary is around $35,745 to $176,169, with the bonus possibly reaching up to $7,000. Their starting salary is around $54,000 in 2013, according to Simply Hired.
Since the BLS classified medical examiners under compliance officers, they also earned an average of $66,770 in annual pay in 2013.
But since medical examiners, whose salary is not tracked by any major organization, are also considered as forensic pathologists, they may also be getting a salary ranging between $112,012 and $303,703. According to PayScale, the median pathologist’s salary, including the medical examiner’s salary, is also likely around $200,584.
Forensic pathologists who serve as medical examiners are usually working for state or local governments. According to Explore Health Careers.org, their typical salary, including that of a medical examiner salary, ranges between $105,000 and $500,000. Their pay is determined in part by the government’s budget constraints.
Medical examiner salary by city/state in the US
The highest medical examiner’s salary in the US is in Minnesota, where they pay is around $218,180. Indiana followed second, where the medical examiners earned $212,200, while Georgia ranked third, with a salary of $209,380. The states of New Hampshire and Nevada are also among the top paying states with a high medical examiner salary of $206,380 and $205,410, respectively.
Using the data about compliance officers, medical examiners and fellow compliance officers earned the highest salary among the metropolitan areas in the country in the Framingham, MA NECTA area at $96,020. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT area also made it to the list, where the medical examiner’s salary, among others, was around $93,340. The San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA area made it to third place, since compliance officers in the area earned $89,500. The Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA and the Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ areas completed the list, with their medical examiner salary of $86,960 and $85,450, respectively.
Chief medical examiner salary
According to The Texas Tribune, the median salary for a chief medical examiner in Harris County is around $289,908.
On the other hand, the chief medical examiner’s salary in the Los Angeles Country ranges between $205,130 and $310,481.
Medical examiner assistant salary
The BLS classified medical examiner assistants under physician assistants, which meant that their salary could also be around $66,000, according to Indeed. The BLS reported that their annual pay is around $94,350, with the highest earners making $130,620 or more and the lowest earners taking home $62,030.
Forensic medical examiner salary
A forensic medical examiner’s salary is around $244,000, or around $118 per hour, as per the salary data for forensic pathologists. The top 10the percentile could make around $335,000 or more, while the lowest 10th percentile could earn around $177,000 or less.
Medical examiner salary in Canada
According to a news report about the salaries of government workers in Alberta, Canada, the average chief medical examiner’s salary was around C$343,850 in 2013. An assistant chief medical examiner salary ranges between C$318,420 and C$343,850 among five employees.
Medical examiner salary in Australia
The site Compare Courses showed that the starting salary for pathologists, including medical examiners, is around AU$40,000 to AU$50,000. A pathology collector usually earns closer to the AU$40,000 mark, while a graduate pathologist earns around the higher end of the pay scale. Graduates who are employed as laboratory assistants usually make a medical examiner’s salary of around AU$45,000.
Mid-level pathologists and medical examiners with at least five years of experience earn between AU$70,000 and AU$85,000.
Those who have more than 10 years of experience and hold a masters or doctorate qualification earn a pathologist’s salary, including a medical examiner’s salary, of AU$100,000 or higher. It all depends on the achievements or the reputation of a person. An anatomical pathologist, for instance, makes between AU$250,000 and AU$300,000 per year.
Medical examiner salary in the UK
Based on Metro Police Careers.co.uk, a forensic medical examiner with a tier 1 rate makes between £50 and £65 per hour, while someone with a tier 2 rate earns between £55 and £70 per hour.
According to Indeed job ads, some employers are willing to pay forensic medical examiner’s salary ranging between £80,000 and £120,000.
Medical examiner salary in South Africa
Salary Explorer showed that the average pathologist’s salary, including the medical examiner’s salary, in South Africa is around R636,000, with the monthly pay being R53,000. This is a bit lower than the average salary for physicians, which is around R717,996.
How to become a medical examiner
To become a medical examiner, one has to be a licensed physician with specialized training in forensic pathology. Applicants also need to complete a residency in pathology to get state licensure and certification.
Medical examiners should earn an M.D. (Medical Doctor) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). They must be certified by the American Board of Pathology in forensic pathology. They also need to have around five years of training after finishing medical school.
Aside from their medical degree and training, medical examiners also need excellent judgment, coordination, decision making, social perceptiveness, and critical thinking skills to do their job well.
The most important technical skill required is dexterity in using autopsy tools.
Conclusion about medical examiner salary
The medical examiner’s salary, based on that of a forensic pathologist, ranges between $105,000 and $500,000. But this also serves as compensation for spending 11 to 18 years in school and for pulling off a 10 to 12-hour workday, or even longer, when they need to examine a body in a distant death site. Medical examiner salary is above average.