Work experience in a funeral service, mortuary or funeral home could help you to find a trainee position.
How to become an embalmer
You can get into this job through:
- specialist courses run by a professional body
Volunteering and experience
You'll usually need to complete a training course approved by the British Institute of Embalmers.
Courses can be studied in the classroom or by distance learning and last between 2 and 3 years. Practical sessions will take place in an embalming theatre.
There are no set entry qualifications but GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths, chemistry or biology may be helpful.
You could do training with your employer's help if you're already working in the funeral industry.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- knowledge of psychology
- being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.
What you'll do
Your work could include:
- washing and disinfecting bodies to prevent deterioration and infection
- removing fluids and gases from the body and replacing them with injected preservatives
- using plaster of Paris or wax to restore the appearance of bodies after injury
- washing and arranging hair and applying cosmetics
You might also be:
- working closely with funeral arrangers to make sure the families' wishes are met
- keeping the mortuary clean and meeting health and safety regulations
- making sure the mortuary is fully stocked
- completing any paperwork required by law
You could work in a laboratory, at a funeral home or at a research facility.
Your working environment may be cool, physically demanding and you'll travel often.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become self-employed and work independently with several funeral directors.
You could go on to take further training and specialise in HIV or tuberculosis work, or join a team responding to disasters.
You could also become a funeral director.
Apprenticeships In England
We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an embalmer right now.
The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.
Courses In England
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