Funerals are emotional-draining experiences for the relatives and friends of the deceased. Funeral directors are there to provide emotional support to the bereaved and, most importantly, ensure the success of funeral ceremonies. If you possess emotional stamina and you love helping other people, this is a career that could suit you.
See also: How to Become an Embalmer
1. What Do Funeral Directors Do?
In detail, they perform the following tasks:
- Comforting the bereaved (Providing grief counseling)
- Coordinating the transfer of the deceased from the place of death to a mortuary or funeral home
- Ensuring embalmers and other mortuary workers give professional mortuary services to the remains of the deceased
- Organizing requiem ceremonies
- Acquiring death and burial certificates on behalf of the family of the deceased
- Developing plans for the funeral ceremony – this involves drawing a schedule of events
- Taking charge of the funeral procession from the mortuary to the burial/cremation site
- Coordinating the work of pallbearers and supervising funeral service arrangers
- Helping the family to make funeral insurance claims and other death-related claims
- Helping the bereaved to adapt to the changes brought about by the death of a family member
2. Work Environment
Some funeral directors work fulltime, and others work in shifts. Evening and weekend work is very common for fulltime directors.
Although you will discharge most of your duties from an office, travel is common, as the job involves visiting the families of the deceased.
Burial ceremonies are typically held outdoors, so you face the prospect of being exposed to harsh weather conditions.
According to the National Careers Service, funeral directors earn between £15,000 and £30,000 annually.
4. Entry Requirements
The best way to enter this profession is to begin by pursuing the funeral service awareness training program offered by the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the British Institute of Funeral Directors’ (BIFD) certificate in funeral service.
These programs provide training in areas such as:
- Stages of grief
- Grief counseling
- Funeral ceremonies
After completing training, you can get employed as a funeral service arranger and administrator. With at least six months of experience behind you, proceed to pursue the NAFD or BIFD diploma in funeral directing to advance your knowledge of funeral operations and laws governing funeral ceremonies, and prepare yourself for employment as a funeral director.
5. Important Qualities
To be an accomplished funeral director, you need:
- Excellent planning skills
- Emotional stability
- A good attention to details
- Good interpersonal skills to work with people from diverse cultures
- Good communication skills
- Good organizational skills
- An awareness of developments in the funeral service industry
- Good problem-solving skills
- Physical fitness
- Good coordinating skills
6. Career Advancement
After getting hired as a funeral director, you can embark on taking your career to the next level.
Some of the qualifications you can seek include:
- The BIFD certificate of higher education in funeral management
- A foundational degree in funeral services (offered by the University of Bath)
BIFD also offers membership opportunities that you can grab to access professional networking opportunities.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of funeral directors include:
- Funeral homes
- Established funeral services companies
With vast funeral directing experience and any of these advanced credentials, you may progress to become a funeral home manager or move into self-employment and start your own funeral service company. If you wish to move into academia and teach future directors, pursue a Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning.
Finally, the National Careers Services forecasts that the caring services industry will create about 250,000 new jobs by 2020. This means employment opportunities will not be difficult to come by.
So, if you are caring and you desire to help families give fitting send-offs to their departed loved ones, then maybe you can become a funeral director.