Often, we read about what it’s like to lose someone; what it’s like to put together a funeral service, along with all the challenges that go with it. It’s uncommon for us to learn about what it’s like on the other end of the spectrum.
To say that becoming a funeral director is challenging is a complete understatement. You deal with all kinds of things and all kinds of people, and it can take a toll on you at times. From dealing with a grieving family to handling the logistics, it’s a hard job but it is an incredibly rewarding one.
If you wish to become one, then you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled some of the best tips for aspiring funeral directors like you. Inspired by the Confessions of a Funeral Director, allow these words to fuel your passion and heed your calling as an aid to the grieving.
- “Get a job (if you can’t get a job, then volunteer your weekends) at your local funeral home BEFORE you commit to going to mortuary school in hopes of making a career of being a funeral professional. I’ve had quite a few people I went to school with who quit when they started their internship (i.e. after they were done with Mort school) because they couldn’t deal.” – Shandel P.
- “Aspiring funeral directors) need to get their foot in the door (very hard) and try to experience as many aspects of the job as possible BEFORE going to mortuary school. They need to understand it’s not all about wearing nice suits and driving nice cars. I personally saw so many, in school, their first time in a prep room was at labs. They do their apprenticeship and get licensed and within a year, they leave the industry.” – Geoff C.
- “I had no connections when I started. Talk to teachers, they are huge assets and can help put in words of recommendation. Post resumes on state board websites and nfda. Be open minded and it helps to be willing to relocate. Make sure its something you feel passionate about because its hard day in and day out. Supportive family is a must since hours are all over the place and you don’t get holidays or weekends.” – Kristin J.
- “Yes, you will work A TON of hours your first year. But at what professional job you wouldn’t? Besides, if you love the job you won’t mind spending the time developing your skills and know that it won’t be a waste of time because those hours will pay off in the long run. There are good firms out there. Just be proactive and stay positive.” – Anna K
- “Be sure to get your Bachelors degree in something else. That way in five years, when you are married and have kids you don’t feel stuck. This business isn’t for everyone and if you find out its not for you, you have a back-up plan. That’s my personal advice, because I am not sure that if I had other options available to me that I would still be in funeral service. It’s changed so much and is so far away from why I started” – Tony G.
- “Learn proper composure. Walk and talk in such a way as to lend dignity to your profession. Sharpen your listening skills. Don’t jingle your change or check your phone in view of funeral attendants. React with compassion, but do not speak in platitudes. Don’t say, “Good morning” or “good evening” when answering the door, say, “welcome”. Have tissues handy in your pocket. Don’t chew gum.” – Rose A.
- “Networking is a great tool. Knowing people at a removal service in a larger area is a good thing since they have contact with the majority of the funeral homes. Also, I did my apprenticeship at an embalming service and learned invaluable skills. As an embalmer you are much more marketable.” – Erica C.
- “Personal Presentation is HUGE. Dress nice but don’t look like a hooker or pimp. Hide all crazy tattoos and piercings! (And you should probably shave your beard and cut your hair.)” – Matthew S.
- “It’s easier in a bigger city that has corporately owned funeral homes. They tend to hire more workers.” – Leslie S.
- “If you really want it, DO IT. There will always be a place for you, perhaps not in your town or state….but life is long and hard when there are regrets.” – Kyle S.
We wish you nothing but good luck on this journey you area to embark on. May you have an endless drive, faith and patience to continuously help people go through these trying times.