Medicolegal Death Investigator Certification Exam

The Medicolegal Death Investigator certificate is designed to give the graduate a recognized credential that can translate into greater recognition within their respective field.  Successful completion of the exam demonstrates the student has an understanding of the death investigation process and has met the minimum knowledge standard. 

The scope of knowledge for the certification exam is defined in the National Institute of Justice publication Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator.

Many professionals currently working in death investigations or those wanting to enter the field of death investigations do not yet qualify for other national certification programs. Until now, no standardized basic knowledge certificate existed for those entering the field of death investigation or those working in other investigative capacities where more than a passing knowledge of death investigations may be needed.

This certification is intended to fill the gap in certification of basic knowledge of death investigations not previously available.

Exam Details

How to Apply

  • Students completing the MDI Academy program will be offered the opportunity to sit for the exam.

Who Qualifies

Students who have completed the Medicolegal Death Investigator Online or Classroom Academy qualify to apply to take the Certification Exam. Students wishing to take the exam have 6 months from the date they complete the MDI Academy Course to apply for, sit and pass the Certification Exam.

    The Exam

    • Number of questions: 225
    • Categories
      • Communication and Interaction
      • Ethics and Professional
      • Identifying Evidence
      • Investigating Death
      • Job-Related Stress
      • Scientific Knowledge
    •  Time limit for exam – 2 hours
    •  Cost:  $150 for  exam
    •  Retest fee $50
    •  Exam administered through independent testing platform.
    •  Proctored Exam – through a preapproved local college, university, or testing center.

      Continuing Certification

      • $50 every 24 months maintenance fee
      • Continuing Education of 20 hours every 24 months in Law Enforcement or Medicolegal Investigation ,  nursing, medical, etc. as listed below
      • Current Valid Photo ID

      CEU hours must be submitted to the Academy Testing review committee every two years. CEU hours can be hours gained in and for other disciplines such as law enforcement investigation (not general LEO procedures),  nursing, emergency medicine,  criminal justice, etc. as long as the hours are directly related to the field of death investigation.

      CEU’s can be applied to this certification as well as the student’s other field of discipline.

      CEU’s must be submitted and approved within 60 days prior to the expiration date listed on the student’s certificate.  Cycle begins the date of successful exam completion.  All CEU’s must have been gained within the 24 month cycle.

      It is each student’s obligation to contact the academy and express their desire to renew their Certification as well as submit the required CEU’s a minimum of 60 days prior to the expiration date listed on their certificate. Students must also submit a current, valid photo ID such as a driver’s license. Upon verification of the required CEU’s, students will receive an invoice for the maintenance fee which must be paid prior to the expiration date of the current certificate.  In the event that students do not submit their maintenance fee prior to their certificate expiration date, students may have their renewal request denied.

      To begin the renewal process contact us at:

      For a complete list of current courses in which CEU’s can be earned and applied to this certification visit

      The Medicolegal Death Investigator Certification is not associated with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, (ABMDI). It is the goal of this certification to move students through the development of skills and experience toward a career in Medicolegal Death Investigation. 

      Testing Committee and Advisory Board

      Tammy Dake, C-MDI, C-VA.


      Certified Victim’s Advocate, Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator, Academy Executive Administrator and testing oversite supervisor

      Dottie Owens, D-ABMDI


      Coroner, Ada County Idaho. Third in the nation to be double accredited by both IACME and NAME.

      Laura Kneese, F-ABMDI

      South Carolina

      Coroner Newberry County South Carolina 

      Dr. Priya Banerjee MD.

      Rhode Island

      Forensic Pathologist 

      Terri Armenta, BS, MS


      Forensic educator for over 15 years and the director of the Forensic Science Training Institute.

      Anthony Conarton, D-ABMDI


      Coroner  Susquehanna County Pennsylvania 

      Nick Gregory, C-MDI


      Deputy Coroner Investigator 

      Darren Dake D-ABMDI, CI, CCI


      Academy Director 

      About us

      The test questions were developed by a team of experts in various disciplines from across the country each focusing on the minimum knowledge needed to be a Medicolegal Death Investigator. The scope of knowledge for the certification exam is defined in the National Institutes of Justice publication Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator. As well as from the testing committee’s combined experience and research in all areas of death investigation and evidence management.

      Our mission

      The testing committee will meet each quarter to review the testing process and student scores to try and identify any areas that may need further development or restructuring. The committee will also consider new scientific advancements and investigative procedures as they align to current testing categories and questions, making changes or modifications as needed.

      Our Certificate

      The Medicolegal Death Investigator certificate is designed to give the graduate a recognized credential that can translate into greater recognition within their respective field. Successful completion of the exam demonstrates the student has an understanding of the death investigation process and has met the minimum scope of knowledge for the certificate exam as defined in the National Institutes of Justice publication “Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator”.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Where do I take this exam?

      The exam is hosted through a third-party testing agency. You will sit for the exam in the presence of a proctor at a testing center chosen by you in your areas such as a library, college, or University. 

      What if I fail can I retake the test?

      If you fail your first attempt at passing the exam you may retake the test in 30 days at the same location. The retest fee is $50 per attempt.  You may attempt the exam as many as 3 times or until you reach the 6-month point from the date you completed the MDI course. You must wait 30 days between attempts and exams must be taken at the same testing center. 

      What is the passing score?

      A passing score for each section of the examination is predetermined using standard cutting score methods.

      Examination Grading

      1. The professional testing agency retained by the certification committee shall grade the examinations/retests.
      2. A passing score for each section is predetermined using standard cutting score methods. The applicant shall successfully pass each curriculum section of the examination.
      3. The professional testing agency shall provide pass/fail scores of initial testing to the applicant directly, as well as to the testing committee panel.   
      4. A pass/fail score shall be released. Numerical scores are not recorded in the applicant’s file.
      5.  The Death Investigation Academy and/or testing committee shall officially notify the applicant of examination results
      Will this certification help me get a job?

      This certification has been vetted by a panel of experts in the criminal and death investigation fields.  This particular certification level is new to the industry,  however, with this certification, you are demonstrating to a prospective employer that you meet  National Knowledge Standards as set forth in publications by the NIJ and CDC.

      Do I get a certificate after I pass the test?

      Yes.  You will receive a professional, frameable certificate in the mail within 3-4 weeks after passing the exam. In addition, you will receive written documentation in the form of a congratulatory letter sent with your certificate, and both documents will list your unique certification number as listed in the C-MDI database, which you can use to further verify your certification. 

      If I fail the test can I get a refund?

      Refunds are not granted due to the costs associated with administering the exam.

      How do I apply for the exam based on my education and experience?

      The Death Investigation Academy does not accept applications based on education and experience. 

      How is the exam monitored and revised

      Revisions to Examination

      1. The Certification Testing Committee shall meet at least once a year to review the test bank and evaluate it for current knowledge and technologies to ensure the examination remains reliable and valid to the profession.  
      2. Questions are reviewed after every fifty (50) administrations and every year of offering.
      3. The Testing Committee shall consider test revision every year after statistical review. Revision is mandatory every three years.
      4. The Testing Committee, as an indicator of individual test item performance, shall also review question analysis. Poorly performing test questions are marked for review.
      5. Test revision shall consist of revising, rewriting, eliminating or adding new questions as deemed necessary under the supervision of the Testing Committee. Such revision shall meet the requirements set forth in the initial test development.
      6. The performance sections shall be revised and updated as deemed necessary, using the guidelines previously established.