Medical Examiner Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Medical examiners in the United States earn $82,500 on a mean basis. The figure stands at C$285,288 ($223,484 USD) in Canada, £100,000 ($132,136 USD) in the United Kingdom and AU$393,873 ($298,195) in Australia. For New Zealand, the mean pay for medical examiners is NZD$330,816 ($225,485 USD). Medical examiners average INR17,31,643 ($26,630 USD) in India and R1,726,479 ($123,544 USD) in South Africa.

medical examiner salary

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make per Year by State?

Medical Examiner SalaryUSCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$38.46C$137£48.08AU$189.36NZD$159.05INR823.52R830.04
Annual Pay$82,500C$285,288£100,000AU$393,873NZD$330,816INR17,31,643R1,726,479

Medical Examiner Salary Influencing Factors

Medical examiners, who have backgrounds of forensic pathologists, perform official duties in investigating the causes of unexplained or unnatural deaths. Thus, these professionals work for governmental agencies. This means location and the budgets of agencies will considerably shape compensation. Also, seniority and experience play roles in what medical examiners earn.

1. Location

Governmental agencies generally engage the majority of medical examiners. The amount and availability of resources to pay medical examiners can vary by location. In Alberta, a deputy chief medical examiner made C$383,144 as a base salary in 2016. Population size impacts the pay of full-time coroners in the United Kingdom.

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in the US?

Medical Examiner Salary USPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total Pay$22,704 to $194,872

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in Canada?

Medical Examiner Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total PayC$178,172 to $375,915

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in the UK?

Medical Examiner Salary UKPer YearPer Hour
BonusNo additional payNo additional pay
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total Pay£85,000 to £115,000

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in Australia?

Medical Examiner Salary AustraliaPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total PayAU$246,394 to AU$519,811

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in New Zealand?

Medical Examiner Salary New ZealandPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total PayNZD$206,768 to NZD$436,269

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in India?

Medical Examiner Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total PayINR 10,97,909 to INR23,14,609

How Much Does a Medical Examiner Make in South Africa?

Medical Examiner Salary South AfricaPer YearPer Hour
OvertimeNo additional payNo additional pay
Total PayR1,158,561 to R 2,428,882

2. Experience

According to PayScale, “Late Career” medical examiners, or those with more than 20 years of experience, earn 83 percent above the national mean.

SalaryExpert states that entry-level forensic medical examiners in Canada make C$178,172. Those with eight or more years of experience fetch on average $356,576.

According to the National Careers Service, the mean pay for starting coroners in the United Kingddom comes to £85,000. At the “Experienced” level, corners make as much as £104,000. Pay for “Highly Experienced” coroners.

For medical examiners in Australia with up to three years of experience, the mean is AU$236,394. After eight years of experience, pay rises to AU$493,110. SalaryExpert reports the mean for new medical examiners in New Zealand at NZD$206,786, while eight years or more experience results in pay up to NZD$413,842.

SalaryExpert places entry-level salaries for Indian medical examiners at INR10,97,909 and salaries for those with eight years on the job at INR21,97,249. In South Africa, the mean stands at R1,158,561 for examiners with one to three years in the role. Pay rises to R2,311,807 for examiners who achieve at least eight years of experience.

3. Industry

Medical examiners may work full-time for a government agency or accept assignments on a contract or part-time basis.

Those in the latter often serve in rural communities or areas with small populations. Compensation turns on the number of examinations performed. In the United Kingdom, part-time coroners earn based on the number of cases they accept. The compensation amounts to 10,000 for 200 cases to 50,000 for 2,000 cases.

Schedule & Working Hours

Generally, medical examiner offices operate during the daytime and weekdays. Depending on the particular office, medical examiners investigate during the weekends as well as weekdays. As offices often receive requests for death investigations at all-times and hours, medical examiners may be on call continuously.

Work schedules may include meetings with detectives and prosecutors and appearances in court to testify in criminal trials. Medical examiners may also appear in depositions or trials in civil suits involving claims for wrongful death, insurance proceeds and other matters where the cause of death is an issue. In particular, life insurance companies raise in appropriate cases the suicide or homicide as a defense.

Bonuses & Benefits

Generally, full-time medical examiners enjoy health benefits such as medical, dental and vision. PayScale reports that eight out of ten in the United States have dental and vision coverage. Retirement and pensions also constitute part of the benefits package.

Holding a senior or supervisory position also influences pay. As reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, a deputy chief medical examiner in Alberta received C$21,922 in cash benefits in 2016.

Career Outlook

Medical examiners investigate and determine the causes of deaths by other than natural causes. The prevalence of homicides, suicides, drowning incidents and other incidents will sustain the need for examiners. For example, South Africa’s murder rate has ranked among the highest in the world. Business Tech reported that, in 2015, South Africa had the eighth highest murder rate in the world, at 31 murders per 100,000.

Many areas face shortages of forensic pathologists and others qualified as medical examiners. A study by the National Association of Medical Examiners revealed that the United States had 500 full-time practicing forensic pathologists to perform medical examiner duties. This constitutes less than one-half up to one-half of the estimated 1,000 to 1,200 medical examiners needed to perform autopsies.

New Zealand had the equivalent of 6.5 forensic pathologists for the entire country, according to a 2016 report by Radio New Zealand.


Medical examiner salaries generally rest in the higher end of occupations. Location, experience and level of supervisory functions help differentiate compensation for particular examiners. Due to the constant occurrence of deaths requiring investigations and shortages, qualified medical examiners can find ample opportunities especially where government budgets will support the hiring.

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