How to become a Funeral Attendant
Job Duties of a Funeral Attendant
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Funeral Attendant
Salaries for Funeral Attendants
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading Organizations for Funeral Attendants
Top Cities for Funeral Attendant Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
The majority of training is on-site, tending to be a month-long apprenticeship with an experienced co-worker.
The main function of a funeral attendant is to assist mourners and funeral directors during wakes or funerals. Within this job description, a funeral attendant is expected to perform duties that include greeting people arriving to the funeral home, washing hearses and limousines to assisting in preparing the deceased's body.
Attendants in this field work at funeral homes and chapels, aiding the funeral director and families of the deceased with funeral preparations. A funeral attendant acts as the representative for both parties to make sure the service is a respectful event without any disruption.
Responsibilities may include obtaining the necessary burial permits and registering paperwork to driving the deceased to the funeral home, using a van or a hearse. Attendants help with cremation, take care to arrange flowers or lights around the casket and may also be employed to do light maintenance work. Some funeral attendants are expected to clean funeral homes and chapels after a service, transport flowers from the funeral home to the burial site or put away funeral equipment.
Tending caskets is a significant portion of a funeral attendant's job. Attendants must be physically capable to carry a casket from a hearse in order to place it in a funeral parlor before a service, and then transport it to the cemetery for burial or cremation. If the deceased person is to be viewed during the funeral service, funeral attendants are in charge of opening and closing the casket.
Funeral attendants often work a somewhat irregular schedule because funerals cannot be predicted. They may be called in to work weekends or evenings, with little notice. While most attendants work forty hours per week, some individuals choose to work part time in this career.
This field is a service-oriented profession that deals primarily with the public during an extremely difficult time. Funeral attendants must be professional and courteous to individuals that are grieving. Good communication skills are essential to expertly handle difficult conversations that typically arise with the bereaved. Funeral attendants must be comfortable in comforting mourners dealing with loss along with being tactful and patient.
Funeral Attendants must have physical strength, adequate mastery of the English Language, excellent customer relations skill and, lastly, a basic understanding of human psychology.
Funeral attendants who work full-time may receive benefits which include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.
By completing a specialized degree in Mortuary Sciences or an apprenticeship program at a funeral home, an attendant can advance their career options and pay to become an embalmer or funeral director--two advanced positions in this profession. Students graduating from such programs are skilled in the psychology of grief where they are taught how to counsel family members. Courses of study also include the history and laws of funeral service, along with business management.
The FSF is an off shoot of the National Foundation for Funeral Service (NFFS), established nearly 60 years ago, and has been influenced by the work done by the Funeral Service Education Foundation (FSEF).
The NFFS was established as a funeral service educational institute when leaders in this industry realized the need for a national organization to focus on improving mortuary management.
Other state options in the United States include: Utah, Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington.
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