Forensic Pathology Technician
County of Ventura
 Ventura, CA


Under general supervision, assists the board certified forensic pathologists or board certified pathologists in the performance of medico-legal autopsies under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner; assists in the collection and legal preservation of evidence, clothing, toxicology samples, and biologic samples for toxicologic, serologic, and microbiologic testing; assists the forensic pathologist in identification, including badly decomposed bodies; and performs related duties as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This classification is a single classification in which the incumbent assists certified Forensic Pathologists.

EDUCATIONAL INCENTIVE: Some positions may be eligible for educational incentive. This incentive may be 2.5%, 3.5%, or 5% for incumbents in eligible positions based on completion of an Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master's degree that is not required for the classification.

BILINGUAL INCENTIVE: Some positions may be eligible for bilingual incentive depending on the applicable memorandum of agreement and the needs of the department. In order to qualify for this incentive, incumbents in eligible positions must take and pass the applicable bilingual fluency exam with a score of seventy percent (70%) or higher.

DEPARTMENT / AGENCY: Medical Examiner's Office

Forensic Pathology Technician is represented by the Service Employees International Union and is eligible for overtime compensation.

The eligible list established from this recruitment may be used to fill current and future Regular (including Temporary and Fixed-term), Intermittent, and Extra Help vacancies within the Medical Examiner's Office. There is currently one (1) Regular vacancy.

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OPENING DATE: November 8, 2019

CLOSING DATE: Continuous and may close at any time; therefore, the schedule for the remainder of the process will depend upon when we receive a sufficient number of qualified applications to meet business needs.

Examples Of Duties

Duties may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Assists the board certified forensic pathologists in the performance of medico-legal autopsies, and assists Ventura County Medical Center pathologists with hospital autopsies;
  • Assists in the collection of evidence, including clothing, and processes that evidence personally collected for additional testing;
  • Assists in specialized identification on badly decomposed bodies; obtains fingerprints on all cases;
  • Assists in the collection of blood, body fluids and tissue specimens for forensic toxicology; packages and prepares specimens for storage or transports in a legal chain of custody those specimens necessary for toxicology testing;
  • Under the direction of the forensic pathologists, removes plaster casts or other medical appliances, preserving reusable material;
  • Prepares autopsy facility for work, and keeps autopsy room clean, sanitary and in an orderly manner; cleans and or sterilizes equipment; orders and maintains autopsy equipment and supplies;
  • Assists the forensic pathologist in the autopsy of suspected or unknown contagious cases, including the collection of specimens for laboratory testing and decontamination of equipment and facilities;
  • Identifies, releases and moves deceased persons from refrigeration storage; and prepares deceased persons for autopsy exam and final disposition;
  • Preserves, stores, and discards evidence, clothing, and specimens as directed or according to established procedures;
  • Performs x-rays on deceased persons as directed by the forensic pathologist;
  • Assists with photographs of evidence and injuries under the forensic pathologists direction;
  • Trains others (extra help forensic pathology technicians, interns) in specialized procedures, equipment and techniques related to job functions;
  • Assists the forensic pathologist in tissue cutting for histological examination;
  • Keeps up to date log books and performs routine clerical filing, record keeping and data entry into the county computer system;
  • May assist in on-scene investigations by collecting and preserving evidence under direct supervision and may serve as a witness in medical examiner cases;
  • Assists in general office functions, such as assisting the public, answering phones, and clerical duties, as needed; and
  • Performs other related duties as required.

Typical Qualifications

These are entrance requirements to the exam process and assure neither continuance in the process nor placement on an eligible list.


At least six (6) months experience assisting in forensic autopsies required. Must be able to comprehend, follow and convey written and oral instructions effectively.


  • Must be willing and able to work around unpleasant odors, and decomposed and dismembered bodies
  • Must be able to lift and move bodies safely and with dignity, using or requesting assistance as needed
  • Must be willing and able to stand for long periods of time
  • Must be willing and able to serve as a witness in medical examiner cases as needed
  • Must be willing and able to work some evenings, holidays, weekends, and on call as necessary
  • Must be in possession of a current, valid driver license issued by the State of California at the time of hire


  • Bachelor's degree in Biology, Chemistry or a related field
  • Experience effectively communicating with grieving families in a compassionate and professional manner
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Some knowledge of: the fundamental principles of analytical chemistry. Basic anatomy/physiology, dissection, and medical terminology; experience in handling or working with dead bodies; prior autopsy training/experience; education or training in medically oriented fields; and, education or training in the fields of biology, chemistry or criminalistics.

Ability to:

  • Work with bodies of deceased persons and tolerate unpleasant aspects of the job associated with traumatic death, sudden infant death syndrome, and odors such as decomposed bodies and preservative chemicals.
  • Learn specialized procedures and tests required to assist a pathologist in an autopsy examination.
  • Perform repetitive activities carried out according to a set procedure, such as preserving specimens and preparing solutions.
  • Maintain accurate records, perform routine clerical work and keyboard data entry into case tracking software; usage of electronic health record software.
  • Understand instructions of a technical nature from pathologists and carry them out as prescribed.
  • Stand for long periods of time, engage in continuous active work requiring moderate physical exertion and manual dexterity in the handling of bodies or equipment, and maintain mental alertness.
  • Learn basic radiographic techniques and methods, and operation and care of radiographic equipment.
  • Operate an automobile safely.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, present a demeanor consistent with the dignity of the office, and sensitively interact with distraught persons and grieving family members.
  • See well enough to examine deceased persons and to assist with autopsies.
  • Stand for long periods of time.
  • Hear telephone and face to face conversations.
  • Speak clearly to serve as a witness in medical examiner cases in court.
  • Smell and detect chemical odors.
  • Lift and move bodies from gurneys at autopsy tables and to assist with autopsies.
  • Operate surgical instruments such as scalpel, bone cutters, scissors, knives, sewing needles and thread to assist with autopsies.

Working Conditions:

Work is primarily performed in the Forensic Science Lab but also involves travel to accident sites and to lift and handle heavy bodies. Incumbent also may be exposed to highly infectious diseases and unpleasant conditions such as decomposed bodies. Recruitment Process

FINAL FILING DATE: This is a continuous recruitment and may close at any time; therefore, apply as soon as possible if you are interested in it. Your application must be received by County of Ventura Human Resources in Ventura, California, no later than 5:00 p.m. on the closing date.

To apply on-line, please refer to our web site at If you prefer to fill out a paper application form, please call (805) 654-5129 for application materials and submit them to County of Ventura Human Resources, 800 South Victoria Avenue, L-1970, Ventura, CA 93009.

Note to Applicants: It is essential that you complete all sections of your application and supplemental questionnaire thoroughly and accurately to demonstrate your qualifications. A resume and/or other related documents may be attached to supplement the information in your application and supplemental questionnaire; however, it/they may not be submitted in lieu of the application.

NOTE: If presently permanently employed in another “merit“ or “civil service“ public agency/entity in the same or substantively similar position as is advertised, and if appointed to that position by successful performance in a “merit“ or “civil service“ style examination, then appointment by “Lateral Transfer“ may be possible. If interested, please click here for additional information.

SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE – qualifying: All applicants are required to complete and submit the questionnaire for this exam AT THE TIME OF FILING. The supplemental questionnaire may be used throughout the exam process to assist in determining each applicant's qualifications and acceptability for the position. Failure to complete and submit the questionnaire may result in the application being removed from consideration.

APPLICATION EVALUATION – qualifying: All applications will be reviewed to determine whether or not the stated requirements are met. Those individuals meeting the stated requirements will be invited to continue to the next step in the screening and selection process.

COMPARATIVE SCREENING - qualifying: If there is a high number of qualified applicants, a comparative screening will be conducted to determine which of the applicants will be selected for invitation to the oral exam. Applications will be evaluated and ranked according to criteria that most closely meets the needs of the department, so it is essential that applicants provide as much detail as possible and answer all parts of the application and supplemental questionnaire (“and supplemental questionnaire“ only if there is one).

ORAL EXAM – 100%: A job-related oral exam will be conducted to evaluate and compare participating applicants' knowledge, skills, and abilities in relation to those factors which job analysis has determined to be essential for successful performance of the job. Applicants must earn a score of seventy percent (70%) or higher to qualify for placement on the eligible list.

NOTE: If there are three (3) or fewer qualified applicants, an oral exam will not be conducted. Instead, a score of seventy percent (70%) will be assigned to each application, and each applicant will be placed on the eligible list.

Applicants successfully completing the exam process may be placed on an eligible list for a period of one (1) year.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION: A thorough pre-employment, post offer background investigation which may include inquiry into past employment, education, criminal background information and driving record may be required for this position.

For further information about this recruitment, please contact Anna Ford via email at or by telephone at (805) 677-5153.