Autopsy Assistant

Autopsy assistants help physicians, coroners and forensic pathologists with autopsies and inquests. They assist pathologists at autopsies by laying out surgical instruments and preparing solutions for preservation of specimens. They also transfer bodies from morgue to examining table. Autopsy assistants remove organs and tissue specimens, as instructed by attending pathologist, and placing them in preservative solutions. They also clean and sew up bodies for release to funeral home.

Common job responsibilities of autopsy assistants include the preparation of the autopsy room, helping with the examination of the dead bodies, collecting, measuring, weighing, preparing and storing tissue specimens. Restoration of the organ remains after the completion of the autopsy and to complete the paperwork.

Average Hourly


Range Hourly

$11.92 – $28.91

Average Yearly


Range Yearly

$23,241 – $56,374

Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414)

Autopsy technologist - medical laboratory

Autopsy technical assistant

Histology technologist

Histology technologist - medical laboratory

Histopathology attendant

Morgue attendant

Morgue technicians

On-the-job training given that the candidates can demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience of human anatomy, physiology, forensic science, medical terminology

Average hourly

Range hourly

Average yearly

Range yearly


$11.92 - $28.91


$23,241 - $56,374

Disclaimer: There were not enough data on the salary on this job. Based on several job advertisement the salary/wages of typical lab assistant has been given.


Employment outlook is good to fair in most provinces. More information is available here.

Depending on the work settings i.e., private laboratory, hospital, community and public health clinic, institutional research labs, biotechnology/ pharmaceutical companies, management positions are usually achievable. Some Pathology Assistants go into teaching and training and become instructors in institutions, and others go to research.

There is no specific program available to become an autopsy assistant. However, the following programs may help enrich your profile in search for this job:

Forensic Identification at Humber College

Biotechnology – Advanced (Formerly named –Biotechnology Technologist –Forensics) at Fleming College

Manual dexterity, Patience, Precise in work, diligent, communication skills; leadership; time management; medical terminology knowledge; Interest to spend long time in lab settings; ability to work in stressful situations at times; very diligent and careful; reasonable physical stamina; must be detail oriented and able to follow strict procedures; must be able to work both independently and as part of a team; should have good interpersonal skills.

Autopsy assistants may need to work long time sitting or standing. They are required to be diligent and often need prolonged visual focus and repetitive motions.

There is risk of being exposed to strong chemicals, biological hazards, infectious diseases and the potential for needle prick injuries. They need to be extremely cautious and careful to follow laboratory safety procedures to be safe from contracting infection, and ensure the safety of patients and co-workers.

They may work full-time or part-time hours or on a call-in (casual) basis.

Difference between Autopsy Assistant/Morgue Technicians and Pathology Assistant

Pathology assistants generally work in hospital laboratories, private research labs and teaching facilities, according to the AAPA. They also work in morgue settings, especially when they assist forensic pathologist where they may work with organs and tissues of dead bodies. Morgue technicians/Autopsy Assistants work in hospital and city morgues. While Pathology Assistants are required to have college/university degrees, morgue technicians/autopsy assistants generally only need a high school or equivalent diploma. The salaries between the two professions also differ greatly. Pathologists' assistants earn an average yearly salary of $69,854, according to Neuvoo. According to Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system autopsy assistants/morgue technicians are classified as ‘Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414)’, while pathology assistants are classified as ‘Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants (3212)’. The average salary for autopsy assistants is listed at $44,989 per year.

  1. Working as an emergency medical personnel/nurse aide/health care aide/medical laboratory assistant may be considered as acceptable experience for IMGs in Canada for this position.

  2. Having a certification or courses on Forensic science might help as well enriching the resume.