How to become a Funeral Attendant

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 for 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. 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.


Additional information

Most employers require you to have a drivers licence.

Duties & Tasks of a Funeral Attendant

Funeral attendants:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Coordinating the movement of coffins and funeral cars, arranging floral displays and collecting attendance and tribute cards.
  • Ensuring death certificates have been issued, burial and cremation certificates processed and that other legal requirements are met.
  • Preparing bodies for viewing and burial by washing, draining body fluids, applying padding and cosmetics, dressing bodies and placing them in coffins.
  • Advising on funeral costs and welfare provisions.
  • Liaising with clergy and cemetery and crematorium staff.
  • May arrange the construction of memorials and the disposal of ashes.
  • Keeping records and accounts of transactions and services performed.
  • Collecting bodies from mortuaries.
  • Arranging the placement of coffins at funeral sites, and placing and adjusting floral displays and lighting.
  • Interviewing families and associates of the deceased to assist with funeral arrangements such as the selection of coffin, type of service and publication of death notices.

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.


Specializations

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    52 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    45% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    45 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,275
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    71% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    2,600 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.1%
    NSW: 32.5%
    NT: 0.3%
    QLD: 18.2%
    SA: 8.8%
    TAS: 3.0%
    VIC: 26.2%
    WA: 9.8%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.6%
    20-24: 2.9%
    25-34: 8.8%
    35-44: 16.9%
    45-54: 30.9%
    55-59: 13.8%
    60-64: 13.2%
    65 and Over: 13.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13.7%
    Bachelor degree: 9.1%
    Certificate III/IV: 23.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.5%
    Year 10 and below: 21.6%
    Year 11: 8.5%
    Year 12: 21.2%
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