Employment Opportunity

Forensic Pathology Technician

Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office, Ventura, California

Salary: $41,496.48 - $52,966.38 Annually

Final Filing Date: Continuous

Under general supervision, assists the board certified forensic pathologists or board certified pathologists in the performance of medico-legal autopsies under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner; assists in the collection and legal preservation of evidence, clothing, toxicology samples, and biologic samples for toxicologic, serologic, and microbiologic testing; assists the forensic pathologist in identification, including badly decomposed bodies; and performs related duties as required.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


  • Assists the board certified forensic pathologists in the performance of medico-legal autopsies, and assists Ventura County Medical Center pathologists with hospital autopsies;
  • Assists in the collection of evidence, including clothing, and processes that evidence personally collected for additional testing;
  • Assists in specialized identification on badly decomposed bodies; obtains fingerprints on all cases;
  • Assists in the collection of blood, body fluids and tissue specimens for forensic toxicology; packages and prepares specimens for storage or transports in a legal chain of custody those specimens necessary for toxicology testing;
  • Under the direction of the forensic pathologists, removes plaster casts or other medical appliances, preserving reusable material;
  • Prepares autopsy facility for work, and keeps autopsy room clean, sanitary and in an orderly manner; cleans and or sterilizes equipment; orders and maintains autopsy equipment and supplies;
  • Assists the forensic pathologist in the autopsy of suspected or unknown contagious cases, including the collection of specimens for laboratory testing and decontamination of equipment and facilities;
  • Identifies, releases and moves deceased persons from refrigeration storage; and prepares deceased persons for autopsy exam and final disposition;
  • Preserves, stores, and discards evidence, clothing, and specimens as directed or according to established procedures;
  • Performs x-rays on deceased persons as directed by the forensic pathologist;
  • Assists with photographs of evidence and injuries under the forensic pathologists direction;
  • Trains others (extra help forensic pathology technicians, interns) in specialized procedures, equipment and techniques related to job functions;
  • Assists the forensic pathologist in tissue cutting for histological examination;
  • Keeps up to date log books and performs routine clerical filing, record keeping and data entry into the county computer system;
  • May assist in on-scene investigations by collecting and preserving evidence under direct supervision and may serve as a witness in medical examiner cases;
  • Assists in general office functions, such as assisting the public, answering phones, and clerical duties, as needed; and
  • Performs other related duties as required.


  • At least six (6) months experience assisting in forensic autopsies required.
  • Must be able to comprehend, follow and convey written and oral instructions effectively.
  • Must be willing and able to work around unpleasant odors, and decomposed and dismembered bodies
  • Must be able to lift and move bodies safely and with dignity, using or requesting assistance as needed
  • Must be willing and able to stand for long periods of time
  • Must be willing and able to serve as a witness in medical examiner cases as needed
  • Must be willing and able to work some evenings, holidays, weekends, and on call as necessary
  • Must be in possession of a current, valid driver license issued by the State of California at the time of hire
  • Bachelor's degree in Biology, Chemistry or a related field
  • Experience effectively communicating with grieving families in a compassionate and professional manner
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Some knowledge of:
  • The fundamental principles of analytical chemistry. Basic anatomy/physiology, dissection, and medical terminology;
  • Experience in handling or working with dead bodies;
  • Prior autopsy training/experience;
  • Education or training in medically oriented fields; and,
  • Education or training in the fields of biology, chemistry or criminalistics.
Ability to:
  • Work with bodies of deceased persons and tolerate unpleasant aspects of the job associated with traumatic death, sudden infant death syndrome, and odors such as decomposed bodies and preservative chemicals.
  • Learn specialized procedures and tests required to assist a pathologist in an autopsy examination.
  • Perform repetitive activities carried out according to a set procedure, such as preserving specimens and preparing solutions.
  • Maintain accurate records, perform routine clerical work and keyboard data entry into case tracking software; usage of electronic health record software.
  • Understand instructions of a technical nature from pathologists and carry them out as prescribed.
  • Stand for long periods of time, engage in continuous active work requiring moderate physical exertion and manual dexterity in the handling of bodies or equipment, and maintain mental alertness.
  • Learn basic radiographic techniques and methods, and operation and care of radiographic equipment.
  • Operate an automobile safely.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, present a demeanor consistent with the dignity of the office, and sensitively interact with distraught persons and grieving family members.
  • See well enough to examine deceased persons and to assist with autopsies.
  • Stand for long periods of time.
  • Hear telephone and face to face conversations.
  • Speak clearly to serve as a witness in medical examiner cases in court.
  • Smell and detect chemical odors.
  • Lift and move bodies from gurneys at autopsy tables and to assist with autopsies.
  • Operate surgical instruments such as scalpel, bone cutters, scissors, knives, sewing needles and thread to assist with autopsies.
Working Conditions:
  • Work is primarily performed in the Forensic Science Lab but also involves travel to accident sites and to lift and handle heavy bodies.
  • Incumbent also may be exposed to highly infectious diseases and unpleasant conditions such as decomposed bodies.

Do you have the Education Required? See available on-line and campus-based degree programs now!

How to apply: Apply online

Posted: November 9, 2019

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