How to Become a Funeral Arranger

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Are you an organised individual with a desire to help others when they need it the most? Can you keep calm under pressure and focus on the task at hand? If you’ve answered yes, then you could consider retraining as a Funeral Arranger. Funeral Arrangers work as part of a close-knit team and are often the first point of contact for families of the deceased – understanding their needs and helping them to plan the funeral.

What do they do?

Funeral Arrangers usually work in funeral homes and are often the first point of contact for individuals or families who have just had a friend or family member die. They will meet them, establish their needs and get the plans for the funeral underway. Throughout the process of arranging a funeral, it is usually down to the Funeral Arranger to be there for people when they need help, support or advice.

They will also undertake housekeeping duties in the funeral home and check that all health and safety procedures are carried out correctly – especially when moving bodies of the deceased.

Other duties could include:

  • Offering additional support to grieving clients and families.
  • Liaising with third parties to book things like catering or flower arrangements.
  • Building strong links within the community and being the first point of contact for community groups.

What skills do I need?

You don’t typically need any previous experience, as all training can be provided on the job. It’s far more important that you can empathise with those grieving and have a genuine desire to help. You will also need to be comfortable with being around, and potentially handling coffins and the deceased at times.

The right person will:

  • Be discreet, sensitive and empathetic.
  • Be highly organised.
  • Have a passion for delivering great customer service.
  • Understand that precision is key because you only have one chance to get the ceremony right.
  • Be able to build strong community links.
  • Have the ability to keep calm under pressure.
  • Be able to listen to and take on board a clients’ needs.
  • Be able to work as part of a close-knit team in a fast-paced environment.

What will I like about this job?

  • Being a support figure for clients and families during some of the most difficult periods of their lives can be highly rewarding.
  • Helping clients and families say goodbye to loved ones in a way that is special to them.
  • Working with the Funeral Director to arrange funerals from start to finish and seeing it all come together at the end.

What are the challenges?

  • Dealing with death is never pleasant, but there is a lot of satisfaction to be found in helping people celebrate the life of someone who has recently died.
  • You will need to be comfortable with being around, and potentially manual handling coffins and the deceased.
  • You don’t have many opportunities to get a funeral service right, and clients and families will be feeling especially vulnerable meaning there isn’t much room for mistakes.
  • Funerals are highly emotional, which means that you may have to deal with upset, anxious or distressed individuals.

Are there opportunities to progress?

With enough training and experience, some Funeral Arrangers move into management or even Funeral Director positions.

What’s it really like?

“I can honestly say there is no other job I’d rather be doing. After a 30 year stint with the police, I did wonder how I would find working in funerals, but I love it. I only wish I’d done it sooner.”

– Robert Brown, 68, Funeral Care Apprentice at Co-op

How do I get started?

Apply directly…

Many employers will hire Funeral Arrangers who have little or no experience in the industry, as long as they have the right attributes.

Larger funeral care companies such as the Co-op also offer all-age apprenticeships in Funeral Operations and Services to give employees the opportunity to transition into a new career path and be the best they can be in their role. So if you’d like to build up your skills and confidence in a new role, then this could be for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, then why not apply for a role as a Funeral Arranger today?

…Or want to find out more about what it takes to become a Funeral Director?

Are you interested in becoming a Funeral Arranger? Or perhaps you’ve already been one and would be interested in sharing your story? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at [email protected] or post on the community forum.

If becoming a Funeral Arranger isn’t for you, then you can see our full list of career change guides, here.

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