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How to become a Funeral Director

Funeral Director

What does a Funeral Director do?

Funeral directors organise and supervise funeral services. They first discuss funeral arrangements with the family. They will need to be aware of the religious factors that may affect decisions, and advise on all aspects, including:

  • all available options
  • any financial assistance that may be available to pay funeral fees
  • legal requirements and registration procedures
  • obituary and death notices
  • types of memorial
  • floral tributes and charitable donations
  • coroners' procedure where applicable.
Funeral directors arrange transport of the deceased to the place of rest and conduct visits for the bereaved to the chapel of rest. Preparation of the body prior to burial may include embalming.

On the day of the funeral, the funeral director will be responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly. Duties may involve driving the hearse, walking with, or carrying the coffin (pall-bearing) and receiving and listing donations.

What's the working environment like working as a Funeral Director?

Funeral directors are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They work variable hours, and may be on a rota system. Most administration is done during office hours, but visits to relatives often take place in the evenings. Part-time work is possible.

Work in the funeral parlour is based in offices and workshops. Attending funerals involves being outdoors in all weathers. Travel is normally within the local area, although occasionally may be further afield.

What does it take to become a Funeral Director?

To be a funeral director you should:
  • be able to deal with people of all ages and from a variety of social backgrounds
  • be able to show care and compassion for the grief of others without letting it affect you personally
  • have a serious and dignified manner with a smart, conventional appearance
  • be able to pay attention to detail - the smallest missed detail may be of major importance to the bereaved
  • have good management skills and excellent administrative and organisational ability
  • have an understanding and acceptance of different religious beliefs and of people with no belief.

Funeral Director Career Opportunities

Funeral services are run by either small family businesses or by larger organisations with a number of branches.

Larger companies may offer prospects of promotion to branch, area and regional management. In small firms, promotion prospects are very limited. There may be opportunities to work abroad for international companies.

Further information

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Courses to help you become a Funeral Director