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What is it like being a funeral director?

My parents are both funeral director and I would like to see what it is like to be one! I find it SOOOO cool and just want to learn more about the profession.

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Michelle’s Answer

You may wonder why I am asnswering this question when I am not myself a Funeral Director. At one time, I had five funeral directors in my family, have attended many wakes and knew two funeral directors personally. All very good people with fabulous personalities.

Let's start with the course of study. Most people I knew went to a specialized Funeral Directing School for two years. One went in with a Bachelors Degree in Biology, but the others went in fresh to the school without a degree. There are a few facets to it. One, you must learn the business aspect of funeral directing and documentation practices. You will probably start out working in an already established funeral home, but down the line, you may want to buy and run your own funeral home. The business aspect is crucial whether you own your own place or work for an employer.

Next is the public relations aspect. You will learn about grief counseling, how to elicit the family's needs and wants and how to present the service if need be. You also will be interacting with local, state and or federal agencies at times. You will want to do outstanding work so that word of mouth will increase the probablity of people choosing you.

Another realm of funeral directing is the, excuse the term, body work. Yes, you will have to not mind draining blood and fluids from bodies. You will learn in school how dead bodies act so it won't freak you out of suddendly an arm swings up while they're on the table. In addition to embalming which I just described, you will learn cosmetic preparation of the body. This is really an amazing aspect. The funeral director will apply facial makeup to the body, giving the corpse a remarkable look for the open casket wake. This is assuming that the family is requesting an open casket. You will also do the hair styling (some hire actual beauticians to do the hair) and dress the body with clothing that the family brings or from the funeral home's in-house clothing stock. You will also learn cremation.

These are all things that are taught in Funeral School. I am not able to see that there are any Funeral Director Schools in your town. You may want to visit some Funeral Homes in person, ones near you, and ask them where they attended school. Each state has different education requirements so do not hesitate to ask about that, too.

Lastly, this is a lucrative field and everyone I knew who went into it did very well financially. It is well suited to you if you are naturally people-oriented, compassionate and understanding. I hope this sheds some insight on the subject. Best wishes to you in your studies and eventual position !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

https://nfda.org/careers/schools-education For Schools and Education
https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-with-funeral-service-and-mortuary-science/
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for responding to me! Im SOOOOO happy that you were able to take your time and share with me ❤️ Audrey
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Audrey ! Michelle Marotta
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