Education, Training, and Continuing Certification in Forensic Pathology

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Kathryn Pinneri


Forensic pathology is different from many other forensic disciplines because the basis is medicine rather than science. The training, certification, and licensure of forensic pathologists follows that of physicians and requires career-long continuing education. Education consists of medical school, followed by training in a pathology residency and a forensic pathology fellowship. The medical school curriculum varies between schools; however, all have a common core classroom curriculum and required clinical clerkships. Pathology residency programs follow specific guidelines and milestones set forth by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Certification is by the American Board of Pathology and is currently issued in 10-year cycles. Licensure requirements are set by the state medical licensing boards and therefore vary from state to state. While onerous, these tasks ensure that individuals have met certain defined standards and that they maintain continuous professional development. The well-established programs employed in forensic pathology can be utilized as a framework for other forensic disciplines, such as forensic anthropology.

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