How to Become a Funeral Director

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Would you like to be a source of comfort to people during some of the toughest times of their lives? Would you find satisfaction in knowing that your job is to make other’s grief that bit more bearable whilst helping them say goodbye to someone they love? If you answered yes to any of the above, then a career as a Funeral Director could be for you.

What do they do?

funeral flowers

A Funeral Director’s main responsibility is to arrange the details of a funeral from start to finish. They’ll typically work in funeral homes or crematories.

On a regular day at work, a Funeral Director could be carrying out any of the following tasks:

Before the funeral

  • Arranging the transportation of the deceased person to the funeral home
  • Preparing the body for the funeral
  • Organising and submitting relevant paperwork and legal documents
  • Placing death notices in local papers or online
  • Offering funeral options e.g. burial or cremation

The funeral service

  • Communicating with family and/or friends of the deceased to ensure the funeral reflects their wishes
  • Arranging vehicles to be used to transport the deceased and family/friends to the funeral location
  • Organising the Order of Service sheets
  • Offering floral tributes (and looking after those that are delivered to the funeral location prior to the service)
  • Offering coffins/caskets/head stones to suit a range of budgets
  • Organising the wake, including catering

After the funeral

  • Organising ‘thank you’ cards for those who attended the service
  • Helping families to arrange the scattering of the ashes, and/or offering them a suitable casket to store ashes in

What skills do I need?

The right person will:

  • Show sensitivity – you’ll be dealing directly with grieving families/friends, so it’s important that you can communicate in the right way
  • Be highly organised – funerals are sad and stressful times for people, so the more organised you can be, the easier it will be for those involved
  • Be comfortable talking about death and dealing with the body of the deceased
  • Be keen to help people preserve their loved one’s memory
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to think creatively
  • Have great attention to detail – grieving families already have a lot to deal with and think about, so it’s your job to make sure that none of the funeral arrangements slip through the net
  • Be able to stay calm and patient in difficult situations

What will I like about the job?

  • Helping people say goodbye to the people they love
  • Supporting families during some of the toughest times of their lives
  • Making a difficult process as easy as possible for those involved

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.

How much will I earn?

As a Funeral Director, you’ll earn an estimated salary of £15,000 – £30,000 (and will sometimes be given a car).

Are there opportunities to progress?

If you work for a large organisation, you could go on to be promoted to branch or regional management.

Co-op Robert Brown

“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 for a job as a Funeral Arranger first to gain experience…

The fastest route to a career as a Funeral Director if you have little or no experience in the funeral service industry is to get a job as a Funeral Arranger first.

Funeral Arrangers support Funeral Directors in the smooth running of all processes before, during and after the funeral service. They also offer a lot of additional support to grieving families and friends.

Many employers will take on Funeral Arrangers with little or no experience in the industry as long as they have the right attitude towards the job. Larger funeral care companies such as the Co-op also offer apprenticeships in Funeral Operations and Services to give their employees the opportunity to be the best they can be in their role.

Once you’ve built up significant experience as a Funeral Arranger, you’ll become more likely to have success in your application as Funeral Director.

…Or apply directly for a job as a Funeral Director if you have the relevant experience…

If you have sufficient experience in the funeral care industry, or you have extensive experience in the customer service industry, you may be able to apply for a job as a Funeral Director straightaway. So if you feel ready, then why not give it a go?

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