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Funeral Home Worker Job Description, Career as a Funeral Home Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: No formal degrees required

Salary Median: $23,270 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Funeral home workers are employed by funeral parlors or cemeteries. Their duties include placing caskets inside the chapel or parlor prior to the service, arranging lights and floral offerings around caskets, and closing caskets. They may have to escort or direct mourners, drive funeral vehicles from the parlor to the grave and back, issue and store equipment used in the funeral service, and assist in cleaning up after the ceremony is over. Some parlors and cemeteries also allocate clerical tasks to funeral home workers. These include maintaining records, managing financial transactions between the parlor and clients, and carrying out various office procedures.

Education and Training Requirements

No formal education is required to become a funeral home worker, however, some funeral parlors prefer candidates with a high school education. A number of community colleges offer associate’s degrees or certifications in different fields under funeral services. Earning a completion certificate will give the applicant considerable advantage over other candidates. Most funeral homes also insist that workers have driving licenses, as they may have to drive funeral home vehicles.

Funeral home workers need to handle difficult conversations with bereaved people. They may also have to write obituaries on behalf of clients. As such, they need to have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.

Funeral home workers receive almost all of their training while on the job. Once they are hired as interns, they have to assist senior workers and funeral directors, learning details about the profession in the process.

Getting the Job

Getting a job as a funeral home worker is not too difficult. Candidates holding a degree or certificate in funeral services will certainly have an edge when it comes to getting hired. Those with some prior work experience in a related field will also find it much easier to obtain a new job. Often, information regarding job opportunities is available on Internet career sites and in classified sections of newspapers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

The career advancement of funeral home workers depends on how much job experience they have earned. Inexperienced workers often require years of on-the-job training to master the duties and acquire finesse.

Employment outlook for funeral home workers is expected to be fair in the coming decade. Over the years, there has been a steady rise in the number of funeral homes, with more and more people looking for better funeral service facilities. This is expected to result in a growth of job opportunities for funeral home workers.

Working Conditions

Funeral home workers typically work regular hours but may have to be available for night shifts. They run the risk of accidental exposure to hazardous chemicals used in embalming bodies. As such, they have to learn to observe proper safety procedures. They also have to deal with mourners on a regular basis, which adds to the stress level of the job.

Where to Go for More Information

Cremation Association of North America
401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, Inc.
3951 Snapfinger Pkwy, Suite 570,
Decatur, GA 30035

McNeal Funeral Home Workers Club, Inc.
PO Box 70
Brinkley, AR 72021-0070

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary of funeral home workers in the United States is $23,270, as per data from 2008. However, different funeral parlors and cemeteries may follow different salary structures. The salaries of funeral home workers also depend on the individual’s geographical location. For instance, those employed in the states of New Jersey, Vermont, Arizona, Delaware, and Colorado report a median annual salary of $31,314. The average annual salary of funeral home workers in West Virginia, Iowa, Michigan, and Virginia is $21,037.

Funeral home workers are offered benefits like sick leaves and paid vacations.

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