Careers in Funeral Service
Funeral directors/embalmers need to be mature, tactful, patient,
responsible and concerned for others. They also need to have an eye
for detail and must be practical, punctual and able to keep
Funeral directors/embalmers need to have a tidy appearance, and
should be reasonably physically fit as they often have to transport
bodies and caskets.
As funeral homes offer a 24 hour service 365 days a year, those
in the profession are required to work on a roster.
- provide information over the phone to bereaved people
- arrange for the removal of bodies from private homes, hospitals
and sometimes from accident scenes
- give advice on funeral arrangements
- hygienically prepare and casket bodies for viewing and
for burial or cremation
- arrange and direct funerals, which may include booking the
cemetery or crematoria, arranging for death notices in newspapers,
printing the order of service sheets and organising the
- liaise with clergy or celebrants
- attend the service and look after the family
- organise the reception after the service, including the
- transport the casket from the service to the burial or
- assist with legal details, such as Work and Income (WINZ) and
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims
- register the death
FUNERAL DIRECTOR OR EMBALMER?
There are two distinct career paths that can be followed:
- You can train to be a Funeral Director, dealing with the
bereaved family (i.e. arranging and directing a funeral in
accordance with that family's wishes).
- You can train to be an embalmer (treating the deceased human
body for reasons of hygiene, sanitation and to prepare the deceased
for family viewing - a factor which is accepted as an important
part of the grieving process).
Naturally a person taking both career paths is of much greater
value to a firm.
Qualifications in the New Zealand funeral service industry
- Diploma in Funeral Directing.
- Diploma in Embalming
Students learn how to carry out all the procedures necessary for
the successful arrangement and direction of a funeral, as well as
the administrative tasks related to a funeral. In addition,
students learn about psychological, social and cultural behaviours
related to death and dying and develop the interpersonal skills
needed for dealing with the bereaved.
The training and education required to achieve these qualifications
is normally through full-time employment in the industry, combined
with formal study.
Must be a fulltime employee of a funeral/embalming company, with at
least 1 year's suitable experience. Usually at least 20 years of
age, mature, and confident of career choice.