Coroner Training Requirements

In most states, elected coroners are not required to be physicians or forensic pathologists. State law often mandates specific death investigation training for coroners. The map below describes the training requirements for coroners.

  • States with laws specifying training requirements for coroners: 16
  • States that require coroners to be physicians: 4 (Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Ohio)

Coroner Training Requirements Notes

Alabama
Unless he or she as at least 24 months of previous service as a county coroner or deputy coroner in the state. Ala. Code § 11-5-31.


Hawaii
An autopsy of a deceased person under this chapter shall be performed by an anatomic or forensic pathologist certified as such by the American Board of Pathology; any experienced or qualified government physician designated by the coroner in the counties of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai, shall be the coroner’s physician for such county or city and county. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 841-14.5; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 841-18.


Kentucky
The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet may employ physicians licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky as county or district medical examiners

[or]

may designate county or district health officers as county or district medical examiners. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 72.240.


Minnesota
Coroner must obtain additional training in medicolegal death investigation, such as training by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, within four years of taking office, unless the coroner has already obtained this training. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 390.005.


Mississippi
An elected coroner who successfully completes the death investigation school and subsequent testing shall be designated chief county medical examiner investigator. Miss. Code. Ann. § 19-21-105.


Nevada
Sheriffs are ex officio coroners. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 259.020.The boards of county commissioners in their respective counties may . . . prescribe the qualifications and duties of the county coroner. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.163.


New Mexico
But “[i]nsofar as practicable, the [state] medical investigator shall be trained in the fields of pathology and forensic medicine.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-11-3.


New York
But “[t]he medical examiner shall be a resident of the county and a physician duly licensed to practice his profession in the state of New York and shall be a person determined by the board of supervisors as qualified to perform an autopsy and dissect dead bodies of human beings.” N.Y. County Law § 400 (McKinney).


Texas
But “[t]o the greatest extent possible, the medical examiner shall be appointed from persons having training and experience in pathology, toxicology, histology, and other medico-legal sciences.” Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. art. 49.25. Texas has justices of peace instead of coroners. Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. art. 49.04


West Virginia
But “[a] county medical examiner shall be medically trained and licensed by the state of West Virginia as a physician, registered nurse, paramedic, emergency medical technician or a physician assistant, [and] be certified in the practice of medicolegal death investigation.” W. Va. Code Ann. § 61-12-7. Must attend training if not already trained and certified in the practice of medico-legal death investigation. W. Va. Code R. § 64-84-4.

Page last reviewed: January 15, 2015