What is a Forensic Pathologist and What Certifications are Required?

A Forensic Pathologist is a licensed medical doctor who, following medical school, has completed additional post-graduate residency training in pathology (Anatomic Pathology, or Anatomic and Clinical Pathology) and a post-graduate fellowship training program in Forensic Pathology.  The entire period of education and training for a Forensic Pathologist following high school is currently a minimum of 13 years (4-year college degree, 4-year medical school degree, 4-year residency, 1-year fellowship).  After completion of residency and fellowship training, a pathologist is eligible to sit for examinations offered by the American Board of Pathology (ABP).  Following successful completion of the various subject-area exams, the pathologist becomes board-certified in those areas of expertise.  Board certification is a marker of competence and training, and allows the public to be confident in the skills of the physician.

The Chief Medical Examiner and all other full-time or part-time forensic pathologists employed by the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's Office are certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology and Forensic Pathology.  Many also hold other ABP certifications such as Clinical Pathology.American Board of Pathology