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Deputy Coroner

The attachment of a resume to the application does not fulfill this requirement and will not prevent incomplete applications from being rejected. Education and work experience fields must be completed, regardless of the presence of an attached resume.

In addition, all applicants must attach a cover letter to their application. Failure to attach this document will result in the rejection of your application.


The Deputy Coroner (sometimes referred to as Medical Legal Death Investigator), under the direction of the Coroner and Chief Deputy Coroner, represents an essential component of the multidisciplinary investigation of sudden and unexpected deaths.  The Deputy Coroner is expected to investigate all jurisdictional and referred deaths which occur within the geographic boundaries of Northampton County.

Individuals hired as Part-Time Deputy Coroner must work a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours per calendar month to maintain employment status. Employees who fail to maintain minimum monthly hours will be separated from County employment.  

This position reports directly to the Coroner and the Chief Deputy Coroners.

This position is not responsible for the supervision of other employees.  
Travels to the scene of unattended deaths which occur within the geographic boundaries of Northampton County which can include homicides, suicides, accidental, questionable, and/or unattended deaths as required, on behalf of the office of the Coroner, in accordance with established call schedule.  

Conducts a systematic scene investigation to assist with determining the cause and manner of death. Understands the difference between jurisdictional and referral case death investigations and the responsibilities that each requires.  

Takes custody of the remains in accordance with the prescribed protocol and procedure. Performs initial on scene examination of the remains, takes photographs, and collects information relevant or related to the cause and manner of death.  Conducts external examination of bodies and collects biological specimens for the purposes of toxicology testing as may be required in individual cases.  

Conducts joint investigations with law enforcement agencies and in conjunction with County, State, and Federal Agencies to assist in determining the cause and manner of death. Collects data and prepares reports on death investigations in accordance with pre-established policies and procedures ensuring accuracy and completeness of information.

Conducts follow up investigations that may be assigned. Practices appropriate safety, environmental, and infectious control methods. Establishes the identity of the deceased individual and notifies the legal next of kin in accordance with established policies and procedures. Oversees and assists with the removal of remains to the attending funeral director and/or forensic facility for the purposes of additional testing or forensic examination.

May be required to provide testimony facts at criminal or civil hearings in individual cases.

As part of a death investigation, it may be necessary to communicate with the primary care physician or other attending physician(s) to obtain medical history and/or determine whether the physician will certify the death.

*An employee assigned to this title shall perform a majority, but may not perform all, of the duties listed in this job description. Conversely, minor level duties performed on the job may not be listed. The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.


EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE – Completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, Biological Science, Anthropology, Nursing/Medicine, or Chemistry; OR

Completion of an Associate’s degree in Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, Biological Science, Nursing/Medicine, Anthropology, Psychology, or Chemistry; AND

At least two (2) years of professional work experience in medicolegal death investigation, nursing, investigative police work, emergency management, funeral services, or diagnostic laboratory; OR

Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent; AND

At least four (4) years of professional work experience in medicolegal death investigation, nursing, investigative police work, emergency management, funeral services, or diagnostic laboratory.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS - Employees assigned to this title will be required to possess and maintain a valid and current motor vehicle operator’s license with an acceptable driving record.

REQUIRED TRAINING AND DEPUTIZATION - All full-time Deputy Coroners must attend and successfully complete the Pennsylvania State Coroner’s Education Board one week basic education course within six months of appointment, as set by State law. The state mandated education course along with maintaining eight (8) hours of continuing education credits annually is required. Formal deputization as a Deputy Coroner is required upon completion of required training.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION - As a post-offer, prerequisite for appointment, appointees must pass a criminal history check.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION – As a post-offer, prerequisite for appointment, appointees must pass a psychological examination.

MEDICAL EXAMINATION – A post offer drug screen is a requirement for employment.  

REQUIRED SCREENINGS AND VACCINATIONS - Deputy Coroners are required to submit to annual Tuberculosis and Rubella screening, as well as Hepatitis vaccinations.

Ability to learn the goals and objectives of the Northampton County Coroner’s Office.

Ability to gain professional accreditation and certification requirements, including but not limited to, American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI).

Ability to write reports containing technical information.

Ability to learn death investigation protocol, procedures, and standards and the legal/policy requirements for the processing of evidence.

Ability to gain knowledge of related accreditation and certification requirements.

Ability to learn bereavement and counseling techniques.

Ability to obtain advanced knowledge of cameras and photographic procedures.

Ability to learn the procedures involved in detecting, analyzing, and interpreting signs and symptoms of trauma and other physical conditions.

Ability to learn the planning, execution/implementation, and documentation of investigations.

Ability to learn fingerprinting of cadavers and identifying traumatic wounds.

Skill in the use of personal computers and related software applications.

Ability to be available for irregular shift work and shift rotations necessary to provide service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays.

Ability to operate on a scheduled 24 hour, on call basis.

Ability to learn and understand medical/forensic information and terminology.

Ability to learn, understand, and follow complex, detailed technical instructions.

Ability to write reports containing technical information.

Ability to communicate technical information to non-technical personnel.

Ability to learn how to maintain quality, safety, and infection control standards.

Ability to learn how to investigate and analyze information and draw conclusions.

Ability to learn techniques to search records, interview individuals, develop case histories, interpret findings, and draw persuasive conclusions from that evidence.

Ability to maintain emotional stability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stressors.

Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with family members, medical officials, representatives of law enforcement, and court systems.

Ability to read, write, speak, understand, and communicate in English to perform the duties of this position.

Ability to multi-task and handle a significant caseload.

Ability to make presentations before various groups, as directed, including giving testimony in hearings and court cases.

Telephone or cell phone, personal computer (including word processing and spreadsheet software), calculator, fax machine, copy machine, and camera equipment, as well as technical, medical, and scientific equipment.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to walk, sit, talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and smell. The work involves considerable exposure to unusual elements such as extreme temperatures, dirt, dust, fumes, smoke, unpleasant odors and loud noise.  

Must be able to lift, carry, drag, or push an average body weight of 150 to 200 pounds, alone or with assistance. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee often works in the field. Work will require the use of personal protective equipment and the ability to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus. Work involves occasional exposure to unusual elements such as toxic chemicals, and biohazardous materials. Will work in a death environment with almost constant exposure to noxious odors. Will work with blood or blood borne pathogens and will be required to follow quality, safety, and/or infection control standards.

The noise level in the work environment varies.

Formal application, rating of education and experience, interview, and reference check as well as job related tests may be required. 

The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.


Updated January 2024