How to become a Funeral Attendant

Funeral attendants assist with the handling of people who have died, the preparation for funerals, the transportation of the deceased, placement of coffins, assisting at the funeral ceremony and the maintenance of funeral premises.

Personal requirements of a Funeral Attendant

  • Enjoy helping people
  • Neat personal appearance
  • Tactful and sympathetic
  • Good communication skills
  • Emotional maturity
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good driving record
  • Good organisational skills

Education & Training for a Funeral Attendant

You can work as a funeral attendant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a funeral attendant through a traineeship in Funeral Operations or Funeral Services. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. You may need to have access to, or be working in, a funeral home in order to complete course requirements. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Funeral Attendant

Funeral attendants may perform the following tasks:

  • collect the body from the hospital, morgue or place of death
  • assist with preparing the body and placing it in the coffin
  • escort mourners to funeral chapels
  • arrange burial equipment such as mats and lowering straps
  • distribute and collect attendance and tribute cards
  • drive passenger vehicles, mortuary vans and hearses
  • clean funeral homes, chapels and hearses
  • arrange floral tributes
  • assist as coffin or casket bearers.

Working conditions for a Funeral Attendant

The work of funeral attendants may be demanding and sometimes stressful. They are often required to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, and are often required to be on call to meet their clients' needs. In small companies, one person may perform a variety of tasks, which requires a broad range of skills and a flexible attitude.

Employment Opportunities for a Funeral Attendant

Opportunities to enter this field are limited due to low turnover of staff. Funeral attendants usually only progress to a funeral director or manager position after working in the business for a long time. It may be possible to set up a new business; however, most firms in this industry are well established.

Specialisations:


Embalmer

An embalmer prepares and preserves deceased persons from the time of death until they can be buried or cremated. An embalmer is usually a qualified member of a funeral firm.


Funeral Director

A funeral director coordinates and supervises funeral workers, including embalmers and drivers. They also provide assistance and support for the family through all aspects of the funeral procedure, including organising documentation, caskets and decorations, as well as facilitating the ceremony itself.

Additional Information
Most employers require you to have a drivers licence.
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