Medical Examiner Investigator Trainee (#RP5005)
$36.58-$44.46 Hourly / $6,340.00-$7,706.31 Monthly / $76,080.03-$92,475.76 Yearly


Under direction, assists with the performance of investigative and administrative work relating to the cause, manner, and circumstances of death in cases reported to the Medical Examiner of unattended natural death, accident, suicide, or homicide; and does related or other work as required in accordance with Rule 3, Section 3 of the Civil Service Rules.


Incumbents in this entry-level class receive training to perform routine investigations and gain a working knowledge of Medical Examiner investigative practices including anatomy, physiology and medical terminology.  The investigative work performed is distinguished from that of other law enforcement officials or medical personnel, which focus on criminal evidence, violations of law, or the biological cause of death.  Positions in this classification are not sworn peace officers.  This class differs from the journey level class, Medical Examiner Investigator, in that the latter performs work independently and may be assigned the more difficult or complex investigations involving the application of skilled investigative methods and practices.


  • Receives reports of deaths from physicians and other medical workers, police, funeral directors, family or other persons concerning unattended or traumatic deaths. Using supervision and guidelines, determines if case is within legal jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner.
  • In coordination with law enforcement, learns to investigate death scenes for evidence relating to the cause and manner of death, including taking possession of and supervising the transportation of the body, securing and labeling evidence, and interviewing witnesses; learns to take death scene photographs.
  • Confers with law enforcement agencies to coordinate investigation of death resulting from criminal acts; participates in death review conferences in cases of child, fetal, and elder death review cases.
  • Learns to verify the identity of decedent, locates and personally notifies relatives of decedents, interviews the relatives for background information; advises them of Medical Examiner Office procedures.
  • Takes inventory of decedent's property and coordinates property protection. 
  •  Learns to prepare reports of investigative findings; learns to prepare death certificates, property forms, release forms, evidence inventories and related documents; reports findings to management and/or Chief Medical Examiner.
  • Notifies Public Health Department, Cal OSHA, the District Attorney and law enforcement agencies or other agencies as required relating to the circumstances surrounding death.
  • Appears as a witness in criminal and civil proceedings to testify to facts gathered during investigation.


Education: Possession of an Associate’s Degree from an accredited college in Biology, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Mortuary Science or a related field.

Substitution: Experience in a medical, nursing, or investigative field, Medical Examiner's Office or Coroner's Office, which includes working with deceased persons and/or their families, investigating, interviewing individuals, and preparing detailed written reports for law enforcement, medical, or other related agencies can substitute for the required education on a year for year basis. 

License: Possession of a valid California driver’s license.

Special Requirement: Completion of an approved course of instruction in death investigation, such as Death Investigation Academy’s Medicolegal Death Investigator Online Academy or equivalent is required within one (1) year of appointment.  Failure to meet these requirements shall result in a release from employment. 


Investigative principles and techniques; rules of evidence; toxicology physiology anatomy, medical terminology and basic pathology of death; methods to preserve and safeguard evidence; legal provisions regarding death investigation in California; and department policy and procedures.


Learn basic anatomy and physiology; work closely with physicians when investigating cause, manner, and circumstance of unattended or traumatic death; read and understand medical charts; deal tactfully with persons especially under emergency and emotional situations; establish and maintain effective working relationships; write and type accurate and comprehensive reports on the findings of an investigation; gather and evaluate evidence; demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills; work alone and independently without direct supervision in unpleasant or stressful conditions; effective oral and written communications.


Mobility – frequent operation of a data entry device; repetitive motion; sitting, standing, walking for extended periods; driving; frequent pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, climbing. Lifting – frequently 5 to 75lbs; occasional lifting/turning of heavy objects or people;  Visual – constant good overall vision, reading/close-up work; color perception and use eye/hand coordination; frequent use of depth perception and field/peripheral vision; Dexterity – frequent reaching; grasping; repetitive motion; writing; Hearing/Talking – frequent hearing of normal speech, hearing/talking on the telephone/radio, talking in person; Emotional/Psychological – constant decision making, concentration, and public contact; public speaking; frequent working alone; occasional exposure to trauma, grief, death, and hazardous materials; Special Requirements – wear assigned safety equipment; may work different shifts, weekends, holidays, nights, and/or occasional overtime;  Environmental – frequent exposure to noise and varied weather conditions; frequent exposure to unpleasant conditions, such as decomposed bodies, bodies with extensive physical injuries, and other similar conditions.

San Joaquin County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, upon request, will consider reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. 

CLASS: RP5005; EST: 12/11/2019; REV: 10/11/2023;