This is specialized medical work in the determination of the cause and manner of deaths coming under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. An employee in this class investigates cases of violent, sudden or suspicious deaths and develops recommendations concerning the existence of criminal acts or negligence on the part of the person or persons responsible. The employee is exposed to progressively more complex cases and is expected to develop increasing proficiency in pathologic investigations and the forensic sciences. Contact with families and a variety of governmental agencies, hospitals, physicians, and others in the conduct of individual cases is a significant aspect of the work

Work is performed under the direction of a higher level forensic pathologist. Working conditions involve disagreeable aspects, which can be partially controlled.




Reviews reports of deaths received from hospitals, private physicians, and police and determines jurisdiction of cases; makes on-the-scene investigations to examine body and note physical surroundings; directs the activities of photographers, police, and other investigatory personnel at the scene and carries out external or internal examination of bodies at the scene if necessary; determines the need for a complete postmortem examination and orders bodies removed to the office of the medical examiner; reviews reports of autopsies performed by hospital pathologist.

Directs the activities of autopsy technician in preparing bodies for autopsy; performs autopsies and obtains specimens for laboratory analysis; examines wounds on decedents and notes abnormal conditions or discolorations of the body; directs the photographing of the body prior to, during and subsequent to the postmortem examination.

Makes microscopic examinations of specimens and determines the cause and manner of death; prepares reports of findings and furnishes law enforcement officials with evidence of a medical and scientific nature including medical evidence of criminal involvement; prepares certificate or cause of death and releases body for burial.

Attends and participates in conferences and seminars involving unusual or complex cases; presents microscopic slides, photographs, and other visual effects and discusses cases; reviews current literature in the field and researches histories of prior cases for background information in formulating decisions; testifies in court as an expert witness.

Performs related work as required.






the principles, practices, literature, and current developments in the field of anatomical pathology

the diversified specialized equipment, instruments, and materials required in all phases of pathology

procedures involved in detecting, analyzing, evaluating and interpreting manifestations and symptoms of physical conditions from pathological examinations

the principles and practices of general medicine and surgery

the principles, practices, literature, and current developments in the field of forensic medicine




establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates and the public

testify as an expert witness.


MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 7/88.)




Graduation from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy, with a degree of Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy and completion of an internship in an approved hospital.

Eligibility for a certificate in anatomical pathology or clinical and anatomical pathology as issued by the American Board of Pathology.




Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.




Possession of a valid license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued by the State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine prior to appointment and during tenure of employment.


Class Established 6/58

Spec. Revision:

CSC 7/12

Ad. Board 9/12

Change in Pay Rate:

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Ad. Board - 9/14

Change in Pay Rate:

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Ad. Board - 1/15

Latest Spec. Revision:

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Ad. Board 10/15