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Funeral director

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Funeral directors make arrangements for burials or cremations, and provide support and advice for the bereaved.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

If you’re not working in the funeral service, you can register with the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and take their funeral service awareness online training. 

The course is designed to give you an idea of what the job involves and includes an introduction to funeral services, roles within the service, the impact of loss and grief and arranging a funeral.

You could start as a funeral service arranger and administrator. This would allow you to gain experience and knowledge of all aspects of the work and receive on-the-job training.

After 6 months, you’d take the NAFD’s diploma in funeral arranging and administration.

The NAFD and the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) have more information on becoming a funeral director.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication and people skills
  • a serious and dignified manner
  • the ability to deal sensitively with distressing situations
  • attention to detail
  • excellent administration and organisational abilities
  • an acceptance of different religious beliefs

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • taking details from relatives or friends of the deceased
  • arranging for transfer of the body to the place of rest before the funeral
  • meeting with relatives or friends to give advice and arrange details of the funeral
  • arranging the date and time of the funeral with the church, cemetery or crematorium
  • organising flowers, transport and death notices
  • advising on legal requirements and helping clients complete paperwork
  • preparing the body for burial or cremation
  • arranging visits to the place of rest
  • dealing with floral tributes and charitable donations
  • travelling in the hearse at the time of the funeral
  • making sure that everything runs smoothly during the ceremony
  • advising on types of memorials, like headstones

You may also give people advice about coroners' procedures if necessary.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: up to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours could vary, and you could be on a rota system. 

Most of your administration work would be done during office hours, but you’ll often need to visit clients in the evenings or at weekends. 

You’ll be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Attending funerals involves being outdoors in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With larger organisations, you be promoted to branch, area or regional management.

With experience and qualifications you could become a tutor and teach NAFD qualifications.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018