Funeral Director/​Embalmer
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
4d ago

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
  • 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.
  • Working conditions

    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.
  • Entry requirements

    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.
  • Secondary education

    A minimum of NCEA Level 1 is recommended to gain work as a funeral director / embalmer. Useful subjects include English and science.

    Personal requirements

    Funeral directors / embalmers need to be :

  • good communicators
  • 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
  • punctual.
  • Funeral directors / embalmers must also be comfortable working around dead bodies.

    Useful experience

    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.

    Physical requirements

    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.

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