Morgue assistants assist in autopsies and perform other related activities in a morgue, under the direction of their manager or supervisor. Depending on your state or local laws, a high school diploma is required; frequently, college education and training is needed. Duties include preparing bodies for autopsy or burial, cleaning of work areas and bodies, and maintaining inventories and supplies. Clerical skills are also necessary, as well as a basic laboratory education.
Morgue assistants are required to have completed at least four years of high school and obtain a diploma. Certain states and local areas may also require a two-year college degree. In certain areas, the high school requirement may be replaced by experience working in a morgue. At least six months of morgue assistance experience is usually required, in addition to the high school requirement. Knowledge of biology and mathematics is also helpful for a morgue assistant.
Autopsy skills are required for the position and are usually learned on the job. For example, assistants must learn how to tag and weigh the body, as well as how to wash and prepare the body for autopsy. Learning how to locate and prepare the proper instruments for autopsy are vital skills that should be mastered. Photographing the body and taking specimen examples are also important morgue assistant skills, as is assisting in the suturing of the body.
Morgue assistants also have numerous administrative requirements. They must take photographs of bodies and create files. They must learn proper filing and identification procedures and follow them at all times, as well as complete reporting forms and documents, send them to the appropriate officials and file them. Mathematical, spreadsheet and word processing skills are required for all morgue assistants. Learning the procedures, forms, requirements and documentation skills are important training topics. Basic computer skills, as well as email and Internet proficiency, use are also minimum requirements for the position.
Maintaining the workplace is a major job requirement for morgue assistants. Learning proper cleaning procedures, restocking of equipment and materials, and sanitary procedures are important job skills. Much of this training is conducted on the job, under the supervision of a manager or trainer. Sterilization techniques and labeling and storing of equipment and supplies are also daily job duties. Learning to clean and correctly prepare the workspace is essential for continued success.