Washington Association of
Coroners and Medical Examiners
"In Forensics We Trust"

Coroner or Medical Examiner?

  • Coroners and medical examiners have identical legal authority, duties and responsibilities. 

  • Coroners are elected. They are trained as medicolegal death investigators and are administrators for their office.  Autopsies and medical expertise are provided by board certified forensic pathologists. Coroner budget range: $6,000-$1 million. Coroner salary range: $36,000-$125,000.

    • Medical examiners are appointed. They are trained in forensic pathology. They employ medicolegal death investigators, additional pathologists, and administrative staff. Medical examiner budget range: $500,000-$4.4 million. Medical examiner salary range: $200,000-$300,000 (usually the highest paid county employee).

    • Coroners and medical examiners use the exact same forensic death scene investigation process,  forensic autopsies, toxicological testing and decedent histories to determine the cause and manner of death, resulting in consistent, professional and high quality death investigations.  


    Every scene, every time