Funeral Director/Embalmer Kaihautū/Kaiwhakapaipai Tūpāpaku
Funeral directors/embalmers organise and direct funerals, register deaths, and prepare human bodies for visits by families, and for burial or cremation.
Funeral directors/embalmers may do some or all of the following:
- transport bodies from homes, hospitals or accident scenes
- advise bereaved people on funeral arrangements
- prepare and casket bodies for viewing, and for burial or cremation
- organise the funeral service and reception afterwards
- transport the casket from the service to the burial or cremation site
- assist with legal details such as registering the death and dealing with ACC claims.
Funeral directors/embalmers need to:
- have a tidy appearance
- be reasonably fit as they often have to transport bodies and caskets
- be able to work with formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde – the two chemicals used in embalming.
Useful experience for funeral directors includes:
- work dealing with the public, such as in hospitality
- counselling, nursing or rest home work.
Work in make-up or cosmetics, and/or work in a hospital or laboratory is useful for embalmers.
Funeral directors/embalmers need to be:
- good communicators
- tactful and able to keep information private
- mature, responsible and concerned for others
- able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
- organised and good at planning
- accurate, with an eye for detail.
Funeral directors/embalmers must also be comfortable working around dead bodies.
Funeral directors/embalmers need to have knowledge of:
- legal and health issues relating to death
- human anatomy
- embalming, and preparing a body for burial
- various religious ceremonies, and differences in cultural and religious beliefs about the human body and funerals
- the legal obligations of working with, and taking care of bodies.
- work regular business hours, but often have to work evenings or weekends and be on call
- work in offices, funeral homes, workshops and mortuaries attached to funeral homes
- travel to hospitals, homes, places of worship, cemeteries, graveyards and crematoriums, and may need to travel to accident sites to transport bodies.
No specific secondary education is required for this job, but English and science to at least NCEA Level 1 is useful.
Funeral directors/embalmers may progress to work in managerial roles at funeral homes, or establish their own funeral home businesses.
Funeral directors/embalmers may specialise in either funeral directing or embalming.
Years Of Training1-2 years of training usually required.
There are no specific requirements to become a funeral director/embalmer.
However, you can complete a New Zealand Diploma in Funeral Directing (Level 5).
To be accepted into a funeral directing and embalming course, you must:
- be at least 20 years old
- be employed in the industry and sponsored by your employer
- have done at least one year's work in a funeral home.