Assistant Medical Examiner

Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, TX, US


Assistant Medical Examiner Overview: The Assistant Medical Examiner conducts external examinations and complete autopsies to collect appropriate evidence and to determine the cause and manner of death for various categories of traumatic and non-traumatic deaths under statutes of the State of Texas. 

This position will have daily and frequent contact with family members of decedents, law enforcement and criminal justice officials, and laboratory and transcriptionist staff members. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collects and preserves evidence and toxicologic samples from on and within decedent remains during the course of external examination and autopsy and is responsible for the integrity of those samples until collected by the appropriate laboratory/agency. 
  • Supervises one or more Autopsy Assistants while conducting autopsies and in the extraction of fluids or tissue samples. 
  • Supervises Trace Laboratory analysts in the collection of various types of evidence from decedent remains as required. 
  • Reviews and corrects transcripts of autopsy reports on a timely basis. 
  • Signs death certificates on a timely basis in all cases in which an external examination or autopsy is completed. 
  • In cases where additional studies (e.g., toxicology or other investigations) are required to classify the death (that is, amend the death certificate from pending status), the Assistant Medical Examiner follows up in a timely manner and acquires the necessary test results or additional information to reach a conclusion.
  • Confers and coordinates as necessary with Forensic Investigators or Registered Nurse / Physician Assistant Investigators to assist in determining the cause and manner of death. 
  • Attends daily conferences of doctors, reviews new cases and helps with assignment triage. 
  • Is available to discuss cases with family members, law enforcement officers and attorneys (criminal prosecutors, defense attorneys and civil attorneys). 
  • Provides educational lectures and instructional seminars to various audiences. 
  • Mentors or supervises autopsies assigned to Fellows and pathology residents. 
  • Mentored medical students and other trainees. 
  • Signs death certificates and autopsy reports of cases conducted by Fellows and testifies regarding same. 
  • Performs histology examination in cases where it is indicated. 
  • Participates actively in quality assurance discussions during the morning review of prior day's cases. 
  • Provides testimony in court regarding cases in which an external examination or autopsy was performed. 
  • As assigned by the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, provides substitute court testimony for other pathologists who are not able to testify in their own cases. 
  • As necessary, attends death scenes with Forensic or RN/PA Investigators and trainees to coordinate activities at the death scene with other HCIFS personnel and law enforcement officers. 
  • Other Duties as assigned: This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are requested of the employee for this position. 
  • Management may, at its discretion, assign, or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.



  • Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) OR Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) 


  • License to practice medicine in the State of Texas by date of employment Certification by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic pathology is required 
  • Those eligible for certification in forensic pathology must obtain certification within two years of employment 

Additional Requirements: 

  • Must pass criminal background check and drug / alcohol screening (prior to and randomly after employment) 
  • Good command of written and spoken English is necessary for consultation with family members of decedents, dictation of autopsy findings, editing of autopsy reports, and testimony as required in a civil and criminal proceedings


$275,000.00 - $320,000.00 Annually 

Harris County offers a competitive benefits program, including comprehensive group health and related benefits plan as well as defined benefit retirement plan. The following list of benefits is offered only to employees in regular (full-time) positions: 

  • Medical 
  • Dental 
  • Vision 
  • Wellness 
  • Life Insurance 
  • Long-term disability 
  • Employee Assistance Program 
  • 10 days of vacation each year for the first five (5) years of service. Accrual rates increase based on years of service. 
  • 10 county holidays plus one (1) floating holiday 
  • Professional development opportunities 
  • Dependent Care Reimbursement Plan 
  • Healthcare Reimbursement Account 
  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan 

The following benefits are also available to regular (full-time) employment and may be available to part-time employees: 

  • Retirement pension (TCDRS) 
  • Flexible schedules (varies by department) 
  • Transportation Assistance (Metro RideSponsor Program)

How to apply

Interested applicants can apply using the Harris County Career Pages link: