Funeral Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a funeral assistant. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a funeral assistant.
Who is a Funeral Assistant?
A funeral assistant helps the funeral director in planning the funeral and carrying out the various funeral works. The assistant does not deal with embalming or other aspects of the funeral director’s work that require training and licensing. Instead, the assistant helps to make the funeral as peaceful and comfortable as possible.
Funeral Assistant Job Description
Below are the funeral assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The responsibilities of a funeral assistant include all of the following:
- Assisting families in choosing an appropriate burial method for the deceased
- Coordinating with the funeral home staff to prepare the deceased to be seen during the service or visitation.
- Providing emotional support to grieving family members during difficult times such as wakes, funerals, and memorial services.
- Helping to co-ordinate funeral services, including choosing musical arrangements, ordering flowers, and arranging catering
- Liaising with the clergy who will conduct the funeral.
- Providing transportation for family members attending the funeral or other ceremonies.
- Coordinating with florists, musicians, and other service providers to ensure that all arrangements are carried out to specification.
- Assisting in transporting the deceased from one place to another, for example from the hospital to the funeral home.
- Recording information about the deceased, including dates of birth and death, cause of death, medical history, and family details.
- Preparing the room or chapel: cleaning, setting up lights and chairs, and arranging flowers for visitation and services.
- Assisting guests arriving for the funeral by showing them where to park and accompanying them to the hall or chapel.
- Ensuring that the funeral wishes of the deceased’s family are respected.
- Supervise the digging and closing of the grave.
- Obtaining burial permits and registering the death with the state authorities.
- Managing the finances of the funeral home, receiving payments, and keeping general accounts.
- Assisting families with administrative paperwork, such as insurance applications.
- Cleaning funeral equipment.
Other important tasks include
- Preparing the funeral home for the funeral
Funeral assistants are responsible for all aspects of preparing the facility for the funeral. This includes cleaning the funeral home, arranging chairs, and placing photographs and other decorative elements according to the wishes of the bereaved family.
- Preparing the coffin for viewing
Funeral assistants prepare the casket for viewing and burial. This task requires the funeral assistant to move the coffin from the mortuary to the reserved room. They also take care of the floral arrangements and lighting so that people can see the casket.
- Escorting the mourners
Once the funeral has started, funeral assistants are responsible for escorting and directing mourners to their seats. They are available to answer any questions the funeral attendees may have and attend to any needs the mourners may require.
- Closing and preparing the coffin for burial
Once the funeral is over and the participants have gone to the burial site, the funeral assistants close the casket and prepare it for burial. This includes transferring the coffin to the hearse and transporting it to the burial site.
- Assistance during the burial process
During the burial process, funeral assistants are responsible for providing assistance wherever necessary. For example, some funeral assistants act as pallbearers if there are not enough people present. They may also lower the coffin into the grave.
A funeral assistant usually needs the following qualifications:
Most funeral assistants require at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some employers prefer an associate degree in mortuary science or a related field.
Training and experience
In most funeral homes, new employees receive on-the-job training. During the training, the aspiring funeral assistants will be taught funeral home rules and procedures, preparation of bodies for funeral services, and how to assist families during the service. Some funeral homes may also offer training in embalming and cremation.
Certification and licensing
Some states require funeral assistants to be licensed to work in this field. Requirements vary, so you should familiarize yourself with the regulations in your state.
- Casket Selection
Caskets selection is a skill that funeral assistants must have. They often work with grieving families who do not always know what type of casket they need or how much it should cost. The funeral assistant’s job is to help them understand their options and make an informed decision about the right casket to purchase.
- Funeral arrangements
Funeral assistants need to know about the different types of funeral arrangements and the costs involved. This includes knowing how to prepare the body for burial. This may involve dressing the body in appropriate clothing and the preparation of the body for family members to see. Funeral assistants also need to know what type of coffin is required according to the religion or personal preferences of the deceased.
- Obituary Preparation
Obituary preparation is the ability to write an obituary, which is a notice of a person’s death that is published in a newspaper. Funeral assistants often prepare obituaries for their clients and may also be responsible for writing them. Obituaries are usually written with respect and compassion, so it is important to have good grammar and writing skills when preparing them.
- Bereavement counseling
Bereavement counseling is the ability to help people process their emotions after a loss. Funeral assistants often work with families who have experienced death, so it is important that they can support these people and help them to grieve. Bereavement counseling skills can include active listening, empathy, and compassion.
Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Funeral assistants often need flexibility in their work, as they may be called upon to take on different tasks and responsibilities.
Being organized means being able to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities. Funeral assistants often have many responsibilities, so it is important to be organized. This skill will help you prioritize your work and ensure that all necessary actions are completed before the deadline. It will also help you stay focused on the paperwork that can be an important part of the job.
Embalming is the process of preserving the body of the deceased after death. Funeral attendants often learn the technique of embalming on the job, but it is important to know how to do the job properly. Embalmers use chemicals and tools such as needles and syringes to remove blood from the body and replace it with preservative fluids.
- Attention to detail
Attention to detail is an important skill every funeral assistant must have. As a funeral home assistant, it is important to pay close attention to the details of every service you provide to ensure that all aspects are handled correctly and with respect.
Funeral attendants often communicate with different families. It is therefore important that they can explain procedures and answer questions in a way that makes people feel comfortable. They must also be able to listen carefully when family members talk about their loved ones.
- Funeral services
Funeral assistants must be able to work with people who are grieving. They must also be able to maintain a professional demeanor when dealing with clients and colleagues. Funeral assistants must also know how to interact with families from all backgrounds, including those from different religious traditions or cultures.
- Transport coordination
Transport coordination is the ability to plan and execute transport for funeral services. This includes route planning, vehicle organization, and driver scheduling. Transport coordination can help you ensure the safe movement of your clients when needed. It also ensures that all necessary parties arrive at the right place at the right time.
- Death certificates
Funeral attendants are often required to issue and fill out death certificates, which may include collecting personal information about the deceased. You may also be responsible for keeping copies of the certificate in case you need them later.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Funeral assistants often show empathy when dealing with clients as they may be heartbroken or emotionally distressed. Empathy can help funeral assistants connect with clients on a deeper level and help them feel more comfortable when they are passing through emotional stress.
- Interpersonal skills
Funeral assistants often work with people who are grieving. They need to be able to listen and empathize with their clients and to keep their composure when dealing with bodies or discussing sensitive issues. Greeting clients is an important part of the job, so funeral assistants need good interpersonal skills to interact with others in a professional setting.
Aftercare is the process of supporting the client after they have experienced loss. Funeral assistants often use their skills to work with bereaved clients. For example, if you are working at a funeral where someone has just lost a loved one, your responsibilities may include comforting and helping with the grieving process.
- Critical thinking
A person with critical thinking skills can objectively observe and analyze a situation, interpret it and come to a correct conclusion. This ability is often required by funeral directors in the early stages of funeral planning. When talking to relatives about the ceremony, the funeral assistant usually gathers information through active listening. He/she also guides the family and relatives to the options that can best meet their needs.
- Active listening
As a funeral assistant, you are often in contact with people who are grieving. Applying active listening techniques can help you to fully understand the wishes of your loved ones and help them through difficult situations.
How to Become a Funeral Assistant
- Get educated
As an entry-level position, funeral assistants rarely have specific educational requirements, but employers in this field may prefer individuals who have completed Grade 10. Meeting this requirement can demonstrate the work ethic and level of intelligence that employers often look for in their ideal candidates.
- Consider obtaining a certificate
Formal qualifications are not usually required to work in the funeral services sector. Although employers might not require them, they can certainly improve your ranking among funeral assistant applicants. Consider the following nationally recognized qualifications, which can only be awarded by accredited training bodies:
- Certificate II in Funeral Operations
The target audience for Certificate II is people who work under supervision in a funeral home and perform or assist in the following tasks:
- Transferring remains or caskets/boxes
- Driving and maintaining vehicles in a funeral home
- conducting funeral ceremonies
- Providing support in the management and operation of the funeral home
Funeral directors and cemetery workers are the two main positions that will need this certification to work.
- Certificate III in Funeral Operations
Certificate III is intended for employees in the funeral sector who perform auxiliary activities but have a certain degree of autonomy. They may assist in the preparation of the body and the conduct of the ceremony under the direction of the funeral director. They may also work independently, assisting with funeral sales activities and related tasks. Once you have acquired this qualification, you may apply for more senior positions such as funeral adviser, or assistant funeral director.
- Develop your skills
The funeral service profession tends to place more emphasis on ability than on qualifications and experience, so developing relevant skills can give you the best chance of entering the profession. Employers in this field generally value skills such as communication, organization, and interpersonal skills. Work on improving these skills through techniques such as mindfulness, conscious planning, and regular communication.
- Contacting a funeral director
The Australian Funeral Directors Association recommends contacting local funeral directors to find out what qualities will enhance their potential for employment as a caregiver. As funeral directors usually make the final hiring decisions, they can give you information that you can use to your advantage. Apply what you learn from them in your application documents to increase your appeal to potential employers. You can also ask them if they have any vacancies or upcoming positions in their funeral business.
- Search for opportunities online
If none of the local funeral homes are hiring, search for job openings online on job boards or industry job boards. You can usually search by criteria such as location, education level, and desired salary. When you find an advert that interests you, read the job description carefully to see if you match the employer’s idea of the ideal candidate. Use the keywords from the advert in your documents to demonstrate your alignment with the employer’s values.
Where to Work as a Funeral Assistant
Funeral assistants are employed by funeral homes. To fulfill the wishes of the deceased’s family, they collaborate closely with funeral managers/directors on all facets of the funeral service. To accommodate funeral services, funeral assistants may be expected to work evenings and weekends in addition to their regular full-time schedule. In the event of a death, they might also be on call around the clock.
Funeral Assistant Salary Scale
The average annual salary of a Funeral Assistant in different countries includes the following:
United States: $38100
United Kingdom: £28370