PHOENIX - Maricopa County has approved a loan repayment assistance program to help recruit much-needed medical examiners.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved the program, offering forensic pathologists up to $25,000 annually, up to $100,000. The average forensic pathologist graduates from medical school with $200,000 student debt.
The program is believed to be the first of its kind in the country for medical examiner or coroner's office.
"There just aren't many people who are trained and capable of doing this job, so it's imperative that Maricopa County distinguish itself as an employer of choice for medical examiners," said Chairman Denny Barney, District 1, in a media release. "Today's vote is one step in what I hope is a committed long-term process of attracting the best medical examiners to help us solve crimes, spot trends, and provide answers to those grieving the loss of a loved one."
Medical examiners are highly sought after around the country. The pool of qualified medical examiners is around 500. Maricopa County currently employs 14, but is in need of more due to growing case loads.
The agency is expecting 5,800 cases this year.
Anyone interested in applying to be a medical examiner with Maricopa County can do so here. According to the county job site, medical examiners make between $80 and $101 per hour.