Forensic Autopsy Technician (#RP5020)
$27.09-$32.93 Hourly / $4,695.33-$5,707.20 Monthly / $56,344.02-$68,486.51 Yearly


Under general supervision, assists forensic pathologists in performing autopsies; maintains the morgue and autopsy suite; and performs related or other work as required in accordance with Rule 3 Section 3 of the Civil Service Rules.


This is a single classification assigned to the Office of the Medical Examiner (OME) working in an indoor/outdoor morgue facility and office setting under the technical direction of forensic pathologists and administrative operations management. Incumbents work independently and are assigned to coordinate autopsy activities, network with law enforcement, civilian personnel, and professionals, and perform a variety of related clerical duties.


  • Receives, moves, stores, and releases deceased persons within morgue and autopsy areas.
  • Collects, preserves, and records identifying and other information of decedent body characteristics and condition through photography, radiography, fingerprinting, and other external measures and observations, including those which may be of value to the forensic investigation.
  • Collects, packages, preserves, and documents medico-legal evidence, including personal property from decedent, in accordance with established procedures.
  • Assists forensic pathologists in performing autopsies to determine cause and manner of unusual, unnatural, or medically unattended death.
  • Prepares equipment, instruments, solutions, opens and closes bodies, collects blood and fluid samples, removes and weighs organs and specimens, and labels and stores specimens for required retention and/or laboratory testing.
  • Maintains the safety and sanitation of the facility; cleans the autopsy suite, refrigeration, and storage spaces; sterilizes instruments, tools, and equipment; performs preventative maintenance and minor repairs to equipment.
  • Ensures sufficient inventory of autopsy, morgue, and clerical supplies.
  • Coordinates, tracks and ensures the proper receipt, storage, documentation, retention, and release of bodies and specimens with appropriate internal and external personnel and professionals, such as law enforcement, medical professionals, hospitals, and mortuaries.
  • Maintains hard copy and electronic records in accordance with established practices and procedures; performs other related general clerical duties.
  • Assists with training and orientation of new staff within the scope of work.
  • May provide witness testimony in court.


Education or Training: Completion of 15 semester (or equivalent) units from an accredited college or university or technical education/training program in human anatomy/physiology, biology, forensics, mortuary science, emergency medical technician training, or a closely related field.

Experience: Six months handling human remains in a morgue, hospital, mortuary, funeral home, or related facility.

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


Handling and working with deceased bodies; appearance and general characteristics of a wide variety of human organs, tissue, and secretions; modern care, cleaning, and disinfection methods and practices of sanitizing floors, walls, fixtures, surgical instruments and equipment, to include universal precautions and aseptic techniques; principles and techniques for effectively working with and providing customer service to individuals and groups from a wide range of backgrounds; general office procedures and record keeping, including computers and software programs used to conduct, compile, maintain, and/or generate data and documentation; and general principles of work organization and prioritization.


Constantly work around and with deceased persons and biological specimens; tolerate unpleasant aspects associated with traumatic death of all ages, bodies of deceased persons in various stages of decomposition, odors, and larva; use physical ability and agility to frequently move and manipulate bodies by oneself and with assistance; take direction and apply and retain detailed instructions and procedures in a high-stress, time-sensitive environment; work independently under minimal supervision; effectively use computer systems, software applications, and modern business equipment to perform a variety of work tasks; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing, using appropriate English grammar and syntax; learn and accurately apply rules of evidence regarding chain of custody and methods to collect, preserve, and safeguard evidence; and maintain confidentiality.


Mobility- Frequent operating keyboard, standing for long periods, walking, pushing/pulling, bending/squatting; Lifting- Frequent pushing/pulling of objects up to 300 pounds, and occasionally in excess of 500 pounds, with or without assistance, including the physical strength and fitness to frequently lift, maneuver, manipulate, and move deceased bodies to/from gurneys, tables, and fixed shelving. Vision- Frequent overall vision, eye/hand coordination, reading/close-up work, field of vision/peripheral; occasional color perception, depth perception; Dexterity- Frequent use of fine and gross motor skills reaching, grasping, repetitive motion, writing; frequent holding; manual and finger strength and dexterity to sufficient to operate surgical instruments such as scalpel, bone cutters, scissors, knives, sewing needles and thread; Hearing/Talking- Constant hearing normal speech; frequent hearing on the telephone, talking in person, talking on the telephone; occasional hearing faint sounds; Smell- Constant ability to detect chemical odors; Emotional/Psychological- Frequent decision-making, concentration, working alone; frequent contact with potentially hazardous materials; Special Requirements-may require working weekends/nights; working alone; Environmental Conditions- Frequent exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals, physical and biological substances, and possibly contagious or infectious diseases, poor ventilation, and regular exposure to variable temperatures; occasional use of respirators as required.

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

CLASS: RP5020; EST: 5/11/2022; REV: 2/14/2024;