Forensic Pathology is the branch of pathology which studies the means and manner of a death by examining the corpse, usually through autopsy. Forensic pathologists, or medical examiners as they’re sometimes called, are specially trained physicians who examine the bodies of people who died suddenly, unexpectedly, or violently. These examinations are usually performed at the request of a coroner or a medical examiner, usually in circumstances related to criminal law cases.
A forensic patologist’s main work requires him to determine he cause (the ultimate and immediate reasons for the cessation of life) and manner of death (homicide, suicide, accidental, natural, or unknown).
Forensic pathologists can identify the identity and manner of death for a deceased person after he or she:
- studies the medical history,
- studies the deceased medical history
- takes into account circumstances and crime scene evidence, also including on-site witness statements
- performs an autopsy of the body, where important evidence regarding the injury or death of the victim might be uncovered.
- collects medical and trace evidence from the body for further analysis.
In addition to anatomy, the forensic pathologist may draw upon specialized knowledge and training in:
- trace evidence
- serology (blood analysis), and
- DNA technology.
Forensic Pathology Career
A forensic pathologist has a very demanding work, which requires extensive medical studies before becoming one in the first place, and then much dedication.
Forensic pathologists spend most of their time in the lab, performing autopsies or examining tissue samples under the microscope. This can involve standing for extended periods and working with small tools. Much of the rest of the remaining work day is made up of official reporting, writing reports and making court appearances. A forensic pathologist will encounter each day cases which might prove to be very graphic, and in time, all though the pathologists becomes accustomed, might leave him uneased.
To become a forensic pathologist, one needs:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A doctor of medicine (M.D.) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O)
- A residency with a program that offers a rotation in forensic pathology
A lot of these require investment of time and energy. Tipically, to become a forensic pathologist one needs on average 14 years of education, however the percs to this manner of investment might pay off.
There are, of course, a lot of benefits which do well to compensate for the various shortfalls of being a forensic examiner.
The salary of a forensic pathologist is in the six figure a year range (up to $500,000), the job outlook is excellent and stable and you’ll always have the satisfaction of knowing you’re truly making a difference in law enforcement – catching them bad guys.
Forensic Pathology Schools and Colleges by Student Population
It’s certainly not an easy job, but you’re ready to assume this kind of commitment, we’re here to help with a few school recommandations which offer forensic pathology courses and degrees.
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Ohio State University||53,715||4-year, Public|
|University of Florida||51,474||4-year, Public|
|University of Minnesota – Twin Cities||51,140||4-year, Public|
|Michigan State University||46,510||4-year, Public|
|University of South Florida||46,189||4-year, Public|
|New York University||42,189||4-year, Private|
|University of Wisconsin – Madison||41,620||4-year, Public|
|University of Michigan||41,028||4-year, Public|
|University of Washington||39,675||4-year, Public|
|Florida State University||38,682||4-year, Public|
|University of California – Los Angeles||38,220||4-year, Public|
|University of Arizona||38,057||4-year, Public|
|Temple University||35,490||4-year, Public|
|University of Southern California||33,747||4-year, Private|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||32,044||4-year, Public|
|Boston University||31,766||4-year, Private|
|Wayne State University||31,024||4-year, Public|
|University of California – Davis||30,568||4-year, Public|
|University of Tennessee||30,410||4-year, Public|
|Indiana University-Purdue University – Indianapolis||30,300||4-year, Public|