County of Alameda

Forensic Pathologist (#5151)

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Bargaining Unit: Unrep - General Mgmt (U15)
$132.06-$160.45 Hourly / $10,564.80-$12,836.00 BiWeekly /
$22,890.40-$27,811.33 Monthly / $274,684.80-$333,736.00 Yearly


Under general direction from the Chief Forensic Pathologist, performs autopsies, external examinations, professional medical consultations, medical record reviews, provides expert witness testimony, general pathology services and other related duties as required.


The Forensic Pathologist classification is located in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau. Incumbents in this classification are responsible for performing the full scope of professional forensic pathology work that includes performing autopsies and external examinations. This classification receives day to day supervision, direction and training from the Chief Forensic Pathologist. This class is distinguished from the next higher class of Chief Forensic Pathologist whom is responsible for directing, organizing, and coordinating all medical activities and procedures within the Coroner’s Bureau. This class is also distinguished from other Physician classes within Alameda County in that it requires specialized training and board certification in forensic pathology, as well as the performance of duties associated with medico-legal death investigations.


NOTE: The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification.  However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level.  Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

  1. Perform post-mortem examinations of the deceased individual and use available medical and historical investigative information to establish circumstance and determine cause of death.
  2. Examine scenes of death/crime, collect medico-legal evidence such as trace evidence and biological secretions; perform chemical and/or microscopic examinations of tissue, fluids and other pertinent biological samples; direct the submission of samples of body fluids, tissues and other samples to laboratories for toxicological and histological examination when analysis may be required.
  3. Dictate medical findings in case reports (autopsy protocols) based on personal observations and interpretations; timely determine and provide a formal cause of death to include any significant conditions that contributed to the death.
  4. Present professional findings, interpretations, and facts pertaining to evidence as an expert in the field of forensic medicine.  Confer with law enforcement officers, representatives of the offices of the District Attorney and the Public Defender (or defense counsel) as well as other investigators regarding the interpretation and significance of findings.
  5. Provide technical direction to Sheriff’s Office personnel who assist with autopsies and investigations.
  6. Respond to legal requests and serve as expert witness to testify in court with respect to toxicology, microscopic reports, scene reconstruction, medical evidence interpretation, and the mechanisms of injury.
  7. Provide advisory and consultative services to Sheriff’s Office personnel, law enforcement agencies, District Attorney, other governmental agencies, and Public Health professionals.
  8. Converse with families of decedents to discuss medical aspects of cases and explain autopsy findings; make notifications regarding potential health risks associated with genetic or other familial maladies previously undiscovered.
  9. Stay current with required continuing medical education, specifically concentrating on current techniques, procedures and equipment in forensic pathology, and be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or equivalent.
  10. Assists in directing emergency responses during natural disasters, major incidents, and civil disorder.
  11. Assume the duties of the Chief Forensic Pathologist (CFP) as directed by the unit commander when the CFP is unavailable.
  12. Perform other duties as assigned.



Possession of an M.D. or D.O. degree conferred by an accredited medical school.  



Completion of a recognized residency program leading to board certification in forensic pathology and possession of board certification in forensic pathology issued by the American Board of Pathology.  


Possession of a license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the State of California.  

Special Requirements:

  • Successful completion of a thorough background investigation.
  • Duties require twenty-four hour on-call availability to respond to scenes of sudden death or injury, or to respond to hospitals to facilitate organ donor requests.
  • Duties require exposure to accidental, physical or biological health hazards and disagreeable situations.

NOTE:  The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE:  The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Example of Duties” section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

  • State and Federal laws applicable to the practice of forensic pathology.
  • Investigative procedures and the medico-legal techniques required to determine the circumstances, cause, and manner of death as required by law.
  • Procedures and techniques utilized in forensic medicine, including medico-legal autopsy, interpretation of forensic toxicology results and interpretation of histology, and clinical chemistry results associated with a cause and time of death.
  • Forensic evidence collection techniques and procedures.
  • Methods and techniques of criminal investigation and crime scene processing.
  • Rules and regulations applicable to court testimony.

Ability to:

  • Perform medico-legal autopsies in accordance with the standards of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau and the National Association of Medical Examiners.
  • Apply the principles and techniques of pathology.
  • Examine decedents for evidence and signs of injuries.
  • Document injuries, collect biological and physical evidence of injuries and interpret them.
  • Effectively communicate interpretations of scene reconstruction, medico-legal autopsy, and investigative and observational findings verbally and in writing.
  • Testify clearly, concisely and effectively at public hearings, in courts of law and before the Grand Jury.
  • Learn, and effectively execute the policies and procedures of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau.



IL:sa 04/23/2020

CSC Date: 05/06/2020