What Does an Autopsy Technician Do and How to Become One

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An autopsy technician is a medical professional who assists a pathologist in performing autopsies to determine the cause of death. Autopsies are examinations of a deceased person’s body that aim to discover the cause, manner, and circumstances of their death. Autopsy technicians are responsible for preparing and maintaining equipment, collecting and documenting data, and assisting in the collection and removal of tissue samples. In this article, we will explore the responsibilities of an autopsy technician and provide guidance on how to become one.

Responsibilities of an Autopsy Technician

Autopsy technicians work in medical laboratories, hospitals, universities, and medical examiner’s offices. They perform a variety of tasks during the autopsy process, including:

1. Preparation of Equipment

Autopsy technicians are responsible for preparing and maintaining the autopsy room and its equipment. They ensure that all instruments such as scalpels, scissors, and forceps are sterilized and ready for use. They also liaise with the medical examiner to ensure that the correct tools and materials are available.

2. Assistance in Autopsy Procedure

Autopsy technicians assist pathologists during the autopsy procedure. They document the location and size of organs, collect bodily fluids and tissue samples for further analysis, and assist in the removal of organs. They may also be responsible for positioning the body during the examination.

3. Handling Samples and Evidence

After completing an autopsy, autopsy technicians are responsible for handling and disposing of surgical specimens and biological waste appropriately. They also provide assistance in storing and preserving evidence that may be involved in legal or criminal cases.

4. Recordkeeping

Autopsy technicians are responsible for documenting the autopsy and collecting and organizing data. They may be responsible for creating detailed written and photographic documentation of each examination. The information is used to complete death certificates and provide information to families and agencies requiring details about the cause of death.

How to Become an Autopsy Technician

1. Education and Training

To become an autopsy technician, you must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Aspirants should have a strong background in Biology and Science, preferably, with a degree in a related field. Courses in anatomy, physiology, and pathology are essential, and it is advisable to study forensic science, criminal justice or any related field.

2. Certification

Certification is not mandatory to become an autopsy technician, but it is highly recommended. A lot of places will not hire you without certification. Certification requirements may vary by state, but typically you need to have at least an associate degree from an accredited institution and a few years of experience working with a medical examiner. Certifying organizations on the subject include the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators(ABMDI) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

3. Experience and Skills

Volunteering at a medical examiner’s office or an assisting in internship programs will provide experience to gain the skills necessary to become an autopsy technician. Seeking opportunities to shadow pathologists or working in cadaver labs will provide foundational skills necessary for the job. Autopsy technicians should have good communication skills, be able to work as a team, and show compassion and respect towards the deceased.

4. Job Prospects and Salary

Job prospects for an autopsy technician are expected to continue to grow as population growth and medical advancements lead to increased demand. Autopsy technicians earn an average salary of $43,000 annually, but there is variation based on state, location, and experience.

In conclusion, an autopsy technician is an essential position in the autopsy process that helps to determine the cause of death. It is essential to note that this profession comes with the inevitability of exposure to gruesome situations, and it is not for everyone. Becoming an autopsy technician requires a high level of education, experience, and certification, but the rewards of the job can be fulfilling for those drawn to working with the deceased.

This article is compiled and compiled from multiple sources by KRUSH.

See other articles in the same category here: Autopsy

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