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Funeral Directors and Embalmers

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NOC:6346
Occupation:Funeral Directors and Embalmers
Category:Sales and Service

About the job

Nature of work:

Funeral directors coordinate and arrange all aspects of funeral services. Embalmers prepare the remains of deceased persons for public visitation and burial. Funeral directors and embalmers are employed by funeral homes.

Job duties:
Funeral directors perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Consult with the family of the deceased regarding the nature of the funeral service, the disposition of the remains and funeral costs.
  • Transfer, or arrange for the transfer of, the remains from the place of death to the funeral home.
  • Inform survivors of benefits for which they may be eligible.
  • Issue death notices to newspapers.
  • Oversee the preparation of the remains, plan and schedule funeral services, coordinate burials and cremations and complete legal documents.
  • Discuss and negotiate prearranged funerals with clients.
  • Manage funeral home operations including hiring and directing staff, maintaining financial records, preparing accounts and ordering merchandise.
  • Supervise embalmers, funeral home attendants and other funeral home staff.
  • May perform same duties as embalmers.
Embalmers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Preserve, sanitize and prepare human remains for funeral services.
  • Perform cosmetic and restorative work on human remains.
  • Supervise funeral home attendants and other funeral home staff.
Sample job titles:
  • assistant funeral director
  • embalmer
  • embalmer apprentice
  • funeral director
  • funeral home director
  • funeral services director
  • mortician
  • undertaker
  • undertaker assistant
Skills:

Funeral directors and embalmers should be comfortable working with the deceased. You must be sympathetic, understanding, and able to comfort people in times of distress. Patience, emotional stability, and maturity are essential. You must show tact and consideration at all times, even if called at irregular hours.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of a one- to two-year college program and a twelve- to twenty-month practical apprenticeship program during or following the educational program is usually required for funeral directors.
  • Completion of a two- to three-year college program and a twelve- to twenty-month practical apprenticeship program during or following the educational program or completion of a three-year college program is required for embalmers.
  • Funeral directors require licensure in most provinces and territories.
  • Funeral directors may be required to be licensed embalmers depending on provincial requirements.
  • Embalmers require licensure in Nova Scotia.
Other considerations:

None

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Funeral Directors and Embalmers most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 77% of Funeral Directors and Embalmers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $40,326. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Funeral Directors and Embalmers150xxx
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $16.28
Maximum: $31.25
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $39,532
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Sales and Service102,605Decline slightly5,260Moderate
Minimum: $10.70
Median: $12.50
Maximum: $21.17
Minimum: $2,949
Median: $16,629
Maximum: $45,086
Funeral Directors and EmbalmersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
Percent employed full-time87%59%
Percent self-employed6%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentFuneral Directors and EmbalmersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern18%x12%$30,581
Northern15%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton27%x13%$32,974
Halifax27%x47%$41,209
Annapolis Valley12%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeFuneral Directors and EmbalmersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
15-249%x
25-3417%36%
35-4413%29%
45-5417%x
55-6417%21%
65+26%x
Median Age4837
GenderFuneral Directors and EmbalmersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
Female33%60%
Male67%40%
EducationFuneral Directors and EmbalmersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school6.1%x18.8%$9,486
High schoolN/Ax40.4%$12,982
Trades certificate12.1%x8.0%$18,797
College certificate or diploma66.7%x19.9%$19,514
University certificate or diploma6.1%x1.6%$18,279
Bachelor's degree9.1%x10.0%$20,807
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.5%$15,716
Master's degreeN/Ax0.8%$20,769
DoctorateN/Ax0.0%$17,318
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$17,368
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Embalmer
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors
PO Box 373
Arichat, NS B0E 1A0
(902) 226-0770
(902) 226-3016
ns.board@ns.aliantzinc.ca
Funeral Director
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors
PO Box 373
Arichat, NS B0E 1A0
(902) 226-0770
(902) 226-3016
ns.board@ns.aliantzinc.ca
Useful contacts:
Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia
17545 Hwy 316
Country Harbour, NS B0H 1J0
Tel: (902) 783-2467
info.fsans@bellaliant.com

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Funeral service and mortuary science - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals for careers in the funeral service industry and for licensure as funeral service directors or morticians. These programs include courses in the basic elements of mortuary science and the business, counselling, and operational aspects of funeral service.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Online Learning
Unit 37, 115 Chain Lake Drive
Halifax, NS B3S 1B3
(877) 491-6774
online.learning@nscc.ca
Additional resources: