Qualifications for a Death Investigator


Employees in this position perform all support duties involved in death investigations. Conveying the body to the morgue, conducting body examinations, taking of body fluids for toxicological examinations, overseeing of x-rays and fingerprints and assisting at autopsies. Work is performed under unusual and unpleasant conditions and is subject to a call on a 24-hour a day basis. He or she follows statutory requirement under Chapter 31, Illinois Revised Statutes.

Essential Functions:

Including the following

  • Conveys body to the morgue keeping intact evidence on or accompanying the body, including the correct control and disposition of the personal effects of the deceased.
  • Responsible for the preservation of the chain of evidence in regard to the body and/or evidence recovered from the body
  • Examines the body, catalogs clothing and personal effects; performs detailed body examinations with the preparation of diagrams of wounds, scar, etc., which are present
  • Takes, preserves and identifies body fluids for toxicological examinations including blood, bile, and urine and transports to the appropriate laboratory when necessary.
  • Assists in the taking, preserving and identifying trace evidence for a crime laboratory analysis including nails, hair and foreign materials
  • Oversees x-rays and processes film as supplementary investigative information
  • Takes fingerprints from bodies for the Coroner’s Office and all law agencies
  • Assists at autopsies, including techniques in dissection and evisceration, taking swabs and smears from various parts of the body
  • Assists in the proper recovery of bullets and other projectiles, packages and identifies these materials
  • Properly prepares body for transportation and or release to funeral home
  • Assists in operation of the morgue under the supervision of the Forensic Analyst
  • Secure DNA record


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

  • Knowledge of modern methods of death investigation
  • Knowledge of fingerprinting
  • Knowledge of human anatomy
  • Ability to work with deceased human bodies under varying conditions
  • Ability to write reports and routine business correspondence
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from managers, clients, customers, and the general public
  • Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals
  • Ability to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference
  • Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratio, and proportions to situations
  • Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists
  • Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in writing, oral, diagram, or schedule form
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to use a computer. Good knowledge of PC operations and software are required. Good typing skills are also required.


To perform the job successfully, an individual must demonstrate the following competencies

  • Analytical
    • Problem Solving
    • Customer Service
    • Oral Communication
    • Written Communication
    • Quality Management
    • Organizational Support
    • Strategic Thinking
    • Judgment
  • Planning/Organizing
    • Professionalism
    • Quality
    • Quantity
    • Safety and Security
    • Adaptability
    • Attendance/Punctuality
    • Dependability
    • Initiative

Education and/or Other Requirements:

  • Completion of a standard high school program or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the desired knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Possession of a valid Illinois Driver’s License and satisfactory driving record
  • Willingness to be available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year without regard for holidays or personal commitment
  • Experience or a background in law enforcement or the medical field

Environmental Factors:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job

  • Ability to perform duties both outside and inside in varying conditions including extreme heat, extreme cold and wet and/or humid, etc.
  • Varying environments require the employee to work in high precarious places, small confined spaces, etc.
  • The employee may be exposed to fumes, airborne particles, toxic/caustic chemicals, and bodily fluids, etc.
  • Ability to withstand odors associated with bodies in varying stages of decomposition

Psychological Factors:

The psychological demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  • Ability to maintain emotional stability while working with bodies in various stages of decomposition
  • Ability to deal courteously with families of deceased individuals, officials and the general public
  • Ability to maintain pleasant working relationships
  • Ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously
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