People who wish to begin a career within the funeral profession need to take into account some special features. All funeral businesses operate 365 days a year, offering service 24 hours a day to meet client needs. Many clients have been recently bereaved and are often emotionally distressed and grieving the loss of a loved one when first contact is made.
A professional, empathetic and compassionate approach needs to be adopted in order to gain the information to carry out the client’s wishes, whilst at the same time guiding the client through the range of services available and advising them on the costs involved.
Arranging a funeral can be extremely traumatic, confusing and distressing and there are many unfamiliar tasks that need to be carried out. As a funeral director or arranger you provide all the necessary advice, guidance and support and are responsible for the efficiency and dignity of the funeral arrangements. As well as a high amount of responsibility, being a funeral director can be very rewarding as you will be helping thousands of people in their hour of need and helping ease the burden of many details and decisions that the bereaved will be dealing with.
A career within the funeral industry requires a great level of compassion but there is also a requirement to absorb other people’s distress and emotion without it affecting you personally. This can be a testing factor of the job but a career in funerals can be one of the most rewarding and dignified careers you could choose.
There are many factors that a career as a funeral director demands of a person, the National Association of Funeral Directors lists the following as a few key attributes:
- Being able to organise and conduct funeral services
- Being part of a rota providing 24 hour service
- Assist with legal forms.
- Being aware of and taking into consideration any religious requirements or customs.
- Fully inform clients of costs and their range of options for aspects of the service.
- Being available to provide counselling, support and comfort even after the funeral ceremony.
There are many training and educational qualifications that you can study in the field of funeral services. There is no legal restriction on the age for considering a career in the funeral profession but a mature approach is vital and having a driving licence can be advantageous.
If you are interested in a career within the funeral industry contact your local funeral director and enquire about training and development opportunities they provide.
To help you decide if a career in the funeral industry is right for you, below are some general job descriptions explaining the different roles available in the industry:
A funeral director is responsible for preparing, managing and conducting funerals in a responsible and professional manner to a high standard. They co-ordinate the funeral by ensuring the correct number of staff are available to perform the funeral, brief staff on the proceedings and ensure all requirements of the family are met. They will also have key responsibilities leading up to the day of the funeral including the transfer and preparation of the deceased, and keeping close contact with clients to ensure they are comfortable and confident about what will happen on the day of the funeral.
The role of a funeral arranger requires an individual to positively represent the funeral home to clients and potential clients at all time. An arranger will organise the funeral including talking to families to arrange the most suitable funeral for them and complete administrative duties required to ensure the funeral goes to plan. An arranger also organises transfers, arranges newspaper notices, orders flowers according to the wishes of the client and will liaise with the client to arrange viewings of the deceased. An arranger may also have involvement in the transfer and preparation of the deceased.
Funeral Services Operative
A funeral services operative performs transfers of the deceased, preparation of the coffin, cleans and maintains the funeral vehicles, assists in preparing the deceased for viewings and funerals, as well as bears the coffin and drive funeral vehicles on the day of the funeral. They also assist with the efficient operation of the out of hours call out rota.
The role of the embalmer is to ensure that all deceased are given proper and appropriate treatment in a dignified manner in accordance with the client’s request. They must ensure best practice for preparation and presentation are adhered to.