Medical Examiner-Coroner

Positions allocable to this trainee class participate in a formal coroner's investigative training program under the administrative and technical supervision of a Supervising Coroner's Investigator I and receives technical direction from a Coroner's Investigator. Incumbents receive on the job training and instruction in the following areas: investigating deaths, securing investigative information related to deaths, identification of decedents, and notification of legal next of kin; providing information to various agencies and securing information from governmental and private agencies, mortuary and field investigations, and obtaining information from physicians and nurses and relating that information to the death investigation. Incumbents must exercise a basic knowledge of medical and legal terminology, the department's operational policies and procedures, and investigative procedures and techniques and have the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, with a wide variety of individuals in order to investigate the circumstances, manner, and cause of death and write reports of investigative findings. This class requires frequent lifting and moving of heavy equipment and decedents and occasionally demands extraordinary physical activity while working.


Receives instruction and on the job training by performing the following duties:

  • Plans and conducts the investigation into the circumstances of death at the scene to determine the jurisdiction of the Department of Medical Examiner - Coroner.
  • Examines the body of the decedent and the surroundings at the death scene and performs required tests for air, water and body temperature, livor mortis, and degree of rigor mortis.
  • Takes custody of any money, valuables or miscellaneous items or documents; lists and records clothing within reports and personal property on appropriate receipts; arranges for or makes the removal of bodies to the Forensic Science Center or other location.
  • Responsible for recognizing, collecting and preserving physical evidence, including gunshot residue, sexual assault evidence, appliances, ligatures, garrotes, drugs, narcotics and paraphernalia, and trace evidence.
  • Notifies and coordinates evidence handling and collection with departmental criminalist or criminalist of other agencies.
  • Interviews witnesses, friends, and relatives to obtain information about the decedent and circumstances of death and related matters.
  • Receives initial notice of death from public or government agencies, initiates investigations, determines Coroner's jurisdiction, and notifies and exchanges information with other public agencies when necessary.
  • Notifies and coordinates with representatives of other criminal justice agencies when necessary. Writes reports of investigations, including all pertinent data and evidence relevant to the circumstances of death.
  • Enters data into computerized records system as required. Provides information regarding State laws and codes, County ordinances, and Departmental policy and procedures in response to inquiries from members of the medical profession, law enforcement and other government agencies, mortuaries, cemeteries, and the general public.
  • Testifies in court or under deposition regarding the findings of an investigation of the circumstances of death.
  • Records information in logs and ledgers regarding Departmental activities; fingerprinting bodies in accordance with Departmental standards.
  • Uses field photography equipment as required.
  • Enters information in sections of death certificates in conformance with regulations of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
  • Drive personal vehicle when performing County business, as needed.
  • Drive a County vehicle to locations throughout the County to transport bodies from death scenes to the Coroner's facility, as needed.
  • Travel by aircraft, boat, or other vehicles, or travel in heavy equipment to conduct investigations and remove decedents and to perform duties in areas of difficult accessibility, limited visibility and mobility, or adverse weather or disaster conditions, as needed.



OPTION I:  Two years' field investigative experience* with a law enforcement** or governmental regulatory agency***.

OPTION II:  A Bachelor's degree***** from an accredited college with specialization in administration of justice, health/physical sciences**** or nursing.  

OPTION III:  An Associate of Arts degree***** from an accredited college with specialization in administration of justice and one year's field investigative experience* with a law enforcement** or governmental regulatory agency***.

OPTION IV:  A current California certificate***** to practice as a Paramedic and three years experience working in paramedic services with no more than a one year lapse in service before applying for the Coroner Investigator Trainee position.

OPTION V:  A current California license as a Registered Nurse***** or a certificate to practice as a Physician's Assistant***** issued by the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance and three years experience working in trauma/emergency services or forensic nursing.

*Field investigative experience must have included duties such as interviewing suspects, informants and witnesses, following leads, searching for physical or documentary evidence of clues, using evidence to substantiate findings or conclusions, examining records to detect links in a chain of evidence of information, reconstructing events and preparing reports of investigative findings and courtroom/deposition testimony.

**Law enforcement agencies include departments such as coroner, sheriff, police, military police, college or university police, and fire.
***A governmental regulatory agency is a public authority or government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity, and includes departments such as health services, mental health, and social services. 

****A health/physical science includes degrees such as a bachelor's of science in anthropology, biology, biochemistry, physics, and chemistry.     

All applicants must successfully complete all required training and meet all of the standards established by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) prior to completion of the probationary period of one year.

A valid California Class "C" Driver License is required to perform job-related essential functions. Successful applicants for this position will be required to obtain a copy of his/her driving record from the California State Department of Motor Vehicles before being appointed.  License must not be suspended, restricted, or revoked.  AN APPLICANT WHOSE DRIVING RECORD SHOWS FOUR OR MORE MOVING VIOLATIONS WITHIN THE LAST TWO YEARS WILL NOT BE APPOINTED. 

Out of state applicants must have a valid license from the state in which they reside at the time of filing and will be required to obtain a California Class "C" or above driver license by the time of hire.  

4 - Arduous.  Involves frequent and heavy lifting over 25 pounds, often combined with bending, twisting, or working on irregular surfaces; and occasionally requires extraordinary physical activity.

Applicants must be in good general physical fitness and free from any medical conditions that would interfere with the satisfactory performance of the position of Coroner Investigator Trainee.  

Appointees must be willing to: 

  • Perform a variety of physically demanding activities, such as frequent lifting and moving of decedents and heavy equipment, climbing down rocky cliffs, carrying a piece of equipment up steep hills, or removing corpses from the ocean.
  • Work any shift, including nights, weekends, and/or holidays.
  • Work overtime in order to meet the legal requirements and/or departmental needs associated with death investigations.
  • Drive 75-100 miles one-way using a County vehicle or personal vehicle to various death scenes throughout the County of Los Angeles (mileage reimbursement is provided by the County).
  • Assist in death investigations that include the examination of corpses and conducting tests to determine body temperature and degree of rigor mortis and handle bodies that may be fragmented, burned and/or in advanced stages of decomposition.
  • Assist in infant and child death investigations.
  • Notify family members of the death of a relative, have them identify the deceased, and provide them with information, empathy, support, and resources.
  • Work in highly stressful situations.
  • Develop and apply effective coping and self-care skills that maintain physical, mental, emotional well-being, a healthy perspective, and a clear and appropriate set of boundaries.
  • Work in death scenes that present a variety of difficult environmental challenges, such as strong odors, extreme temperatures, dilapidated living conditions, and/or rugged terrain.

Applicants will be required to complete a supplemental job willingness questionnaire at the time of filing. Applicants who do not agree to the work conditions and/or do not meet the minimum requirements will have to wait twelve (12) months from the date of the disqualification in order to reapply.



Part I:  A written test that consists of both a computerized and paper-and-pencil component measuring written expression, reading comprehension, data analysis and decision making, deductive reasoning ability, professional potential, achievement, influence, independence, confidence and optimism, and reliability, weighted 50%.

Applicants must achieve a 70% on Part I in order to advance to Part II. 
Part II:  An interview covering experience, problem solving, communication skills, interest/motivation, interpersonal skills, community involvement/awareness, and interviewing and information gathering techniques, weighted 50%. 

Applicants must meet the Minimum Requirements and achieve a passing score of 70% or higher on each weighted part of the examination in order to be placed on the eligible register.


Applicants who have taken identical written tests for other exams within the last twelve (12) months will have their written test scores for the identical test part(s) automatically transferred to this examination.

This examination contains test parts that may be used in the future for new examinations. Upon acceptance of your application, your scores will be transferred to the new examination, and you may not be allowed to re-take any identical test part(s) for at least twelve (12) months.

Los Angeles County, CA 90001
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