Coroner's Division Intern
OC Sheriff Coroner

Internship Position Description

Applications will be accepted from November 1, 2020 to February 1, 2021.

Position Title:

Coroner's Division Intern - OC Sheriff Coroner   (unpaid internship)

Internships with the OC Coroner are unpaid positions, and the background investigation can take three - five months to process.
Applicants are generally expected to recently have, or be close to obtaining, a baccalaureate degree (BS or BA) in a natural science, criminal justice, anthropology or a closely related field or completed an associate degree in mortuary science. Once an application is made, the selection process includes a review of application materials, an interview and a thorough background investigation. Applicants who have been selected for an interview will be contacted in January/February, and interviews will be scheduled in February. Internships are offered during the summer months, and additional placement will be available throughout the year.
Name and Location of Agency/Department Requesting Intern:

Orange County Sheriff Coroner Department
Coroner Division
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Functions of Agency/Department:

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is a modern, progressive law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting the peace and enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the County of Orange. The OC Coroner Division carries out the statutory duties of the Coroner and serves the citizens and visitors of Orange County by conducting thorough medicolegal death investigations with compassion and specialized expertise.

Intern Duties/Responsibilities:

Duties may vary, depending upon current project needs of the division and the intern’s assigned section. Examples of duties include investigative assistance, both in the office and at times in the field that involve speaking with families of decedents, medical and law enforcement personnel and mortuary staff; observation and support of forensic assistants during autopsies and in processing remains and evidence; and records/administration tasks related to specialized projects pertaining to media inquiries, data collection and processing, and records. 

Assignments may provide experience related to the following activities:

  • Assist at death scene investigations under the direct supervision of a Deputy Coroner
  • Observe and provide support during autopsies under the direct supervision of a Forensic Pathologist or Forensic Assistant
  • Assist with data collection and/or analysis
  • Screen incoming calls to determine what information falls within the Coroner’s jurisdiction
  • Review medical records to identify details relevant to a death investigation
  • Process evidence on non-criminal cases

Interns will be expected to present to the staff on a medicolegal death investigation related topic of their choice at the conclusion of the internship

Educational Requirements:

Those applying for an internship with the Coroner Division are expected to have completed their third year at an accredited college or university prior to the start date of the internship. They must be pursuing or have completed a bachelor's degree in forensic science, biology, chemistry, anthropology, criminal justice or a closely related field. Completion of an associate degree in mortuary science is acceptable.  Minimum GPA requirement is 2.8. (Be sure your GPA is highlighted on your unofficial transcripts)

Skills, Training or Qualifications

Applicants must be familiar with basic death investigation principles and/or physiology/anatomy; must be comfortable while interacting with the public both in person and via phone; and must have demonstrated experience in customer service.  Specific skill requirements will vary depending upon available projects and assigned section.  Basic computer skills are required. Applicants must be able to work independently on projects as assigned.

Training and Supervision that will be Provided by the Agency/Department:

The program provides an opportunity for interns to gain hands-on experience and training by participating in the operation of the OC Coroner Division. Interns will be exposed to a variety of investigative tasks and will be directly supervised and mentored by working Forensic Assistants, Coroner Investigators or other experienced staff.  All interns may be afforded the opportunity to experience each of the sections of the Coroner Division. 

Time Commitment:

Internships are offered year round and require 8 or more hours per week (up to 20 hours per week) for 3 months, with the possibility to extend up to 6 months, at the discretion of the division. Schedules may vary, depending on specific tasks and intern availability. Hours may be scheduled 7 days a week between 6 a.m. – midnight, depending on the assigned section. Applicants with the most flexibility in their schedule typically gain a more in-depth experience.

Benefits Available to Intern

Although this is an unpaid internship that does not lead to permanent employment or include employee benefits, the position offers participants an excellent experience in working within a large county coroner’s office. It also provides an opportunity for interns to explore career options, gain knowledge and skills that complement their academic studies, build resumes and network with professionals in the medicolegal death investigation environment.

Application Process:

Selected candidates will be interviewed by the project(s) leader and intern coordinator in early February for placement, starting in summer.

The following information must be included in application material. If information is missing, candidates may be disqualified.

  • The cover letter or letter of interest is an opportunity for applicants to describe career and academic goals and to elaborate upon personal interests/accomplishments related to the internship. 
  • Please include the following information in the LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE COVER LETTER OR LETTER OF INTEREST:
    • GPA (must be minimum 2.8).
    • Preferred start and end dates for the internship, if any.
    • Number of hours that can be scheduled on a weekly basis (Be specific - at least 8, but no more than 20 hours per week, unless for academic credit).
    • Days/timeframes available to schedule internship hours. (Be specific.)
    • If living outside of the Southern California area, place of residence if selected for the internship.
    • Specify if you are an international student.
    • Whether or not the internship will apply to college/university academic credit. We don't require that applicants receive academic credit, and many students complete the internship for personal/professional growth rather than academic credit.
  • The resume must include relevant scientific education, work experiences and community involvement.
  • The unofficial transcript(s) must include all undergraduate and any graduate coursework, except coursework in progress.

Cover letters or letters of interest, resumes, and unofficial transcripts will assist in matching applicants with opportunities as they become available.

Required Background Investigation:

Background investigations that can take three - five months to process will be conducted on applicants who have successfully interviewed for the internship and wish to pursue placement.

The background investigation includes a 20 - 30-minute pre-screen interview. The pre-screen interview for out-of-state applicants can be conducted by phone. An additional three-hour in-person interview and Livescan fingerprinting are also required. 
Location for pre-screen and in-person background interviews:
Orange County Sheriff's Department Background Unit 
320 N Flower Street, Santa Ana CA, 92702

The following documents will be completed by qualified applicants during the background investigation:

  • Civilian Personal History form, includes employment history & arrest record
  • Notarized Authorization to Release Information form

As part of the background investigation, applicants will be required to provide five references along with original copies of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (original or certified copy) or if applicable, naturalization certificate/resident card (Passport is not accepted.)
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license or ID
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of current automobile liability insurance coverage, listing applicant as an insured driver
  • Official college transcript(s) (Required for applicants who have completed their degree(s) and must be submitted in a sealed/unopened envelope.)

Application Procedure

To apply: Click HERE