Embalmer

Alternative titles for this job include

Embalmers preserve and prepare bodies for burial or cremation.

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter

to

£28,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

weekends at short notice

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an embalmer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by a professional body

Apprenticeship

You could do a mortuary technician advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

If you're already working in the funeral industry, you could train to become an embalmer with your employer's help.

Volunteering

Work experience in a funeral service, mortuary or funeral home could help you to find a trainee position.

Other Routes

You'll usually need to complete a training course approved by the British Institute of Embalmers.

You can take a course online or in the classroom. Courses take between 2 and 3 years to complete. You'll have practical sessions 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 may have an advantage if you know about different faiths and cultures and the way they deal with death.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Institute of Embalmers to find out about professional development opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You'll find more details about working as an embalmer through the British Institute of Embalmers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • a desire to help people
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You may need vaccinations to be an embalmer. These are listed by the Department of Health and Public Health.

As a minimum, your employer should offer you vaccinations against hepatitis, tetanus and tuberculosis.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As part of your job, you could:

  • look after bodies with care and respect for their dignity
  • wash and disinfect bodies to prevent deterioration and infection
  • remove fluids and gases from the body and replace them with preservatives
  • use plaster of Paris or wax to restore the appearance of bodies after injury
  • wash and style hair and apply make up
  • work with funeral arrangers to make sure that the family's wishes are met
  • keep the mortuary clean to meet health and safety regulations
  • complete paperwork required by law

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory, at a funeral home or at a research facility.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become self employed and work independently with several funeral directors.

You could take further training to specialise in HIV or tuberculosis or join a team responding to disasters.

You could also become a funeral director.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

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

Are you interested in becoming an embalmer?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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