Pay for funeral directors / embalmers varies, but they typically earn between $45,000 and $50,000 a year.
Very experienced funeral directors / embalmers or those running their own business can earn up to $100,000.
Source : Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand, 2016.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Caring for bodies and registering deaths
Funeral directors / embalmers may do some or all of the following :
arrange for removal of bodies from places such as private homes, hospitals and accident scenes
gather the information and documents necessary to register the death, and obtain death certificates
preserve and prepare bodies for viewing
drive a hearse and transport the coffin
attend and / or assist with burial or cremation.
Organising and attending funerals
Funeral directors may also :
discuss funeral arrangements with relatives
work with relatives to help them cope with their grief and celebrate the life of the person who has passed away
organise newspaper notices, cemetery bookings or burial plots, flowers, catering, and coffins and urns on behalf of relatives
arrange, attend, and direct funerals and after-service receptions
help family members with legal details such as Work and Income and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims.
Skills and knowledge
Funeral directors / embalmers need to have knowledge of :
legal and health issues relating to death
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.
Funeral directors / embalmers :
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, private homes, churches and other places of worship, cemeteries, graveyards and crematoriums, and may be required to travel to accident sites to transfer bodies.
There are no specific requirements for becoming a funeral director / embalmer.
However, you can complete a National Diploma in Funeral Directing or Embalming through Weltec.
To be accepted into funeral directing and embalming courses, 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.
A minimum of NCEA Level 1 is recommended to gain work as a funeral director / embalmer. Useful subjects include English and science.
Funeral directors / embalmers need to be :
patient and tactful
mature, responsible and sympathetic
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.
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 have a tidy appearance. They should also not be allergic to formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde the two chemicals used in embalming.