At its core, forensic pathology is the application of medical knowledge in a legal setting. In common practice, forensic pathology involves determining the cause and manner of death, and the related medical investigations. That process may include performance of an autopsy, review of medical records, investigation of the scene, history, circumstances, etc.
A forensic pathologist certified as such by the American Board of Pathology (ABP) must be a medical doctor who has completed additional specialty training in pathology (typically four years) followed by at least one additional year of subspecialty training in forensic pathology, passed examinations administered by the ABP, and participates in the Continuing Certification program by the ABP. A forensic pathologist certified as such by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) must be a medical doctor who has previously been certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties member board (in this case, the ABP), retains a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in at least one US state, and participates in accepted continuing medical education activities.