While it may not seem like the most upbeat position to have, funeral directors perform an extremely important service for those who are in grief. The funeral director is responsible for the completion of the funeral rites. This typically includes embalming the body, the cremation or burial of the deceased, and the arrangement of the funeral ceremony. The funeral director is also responsible for making the corpse look acceptable for public viewing; this may include dressing or applying makeup to the deceased.
For the most part, funeral directors work exclusively for one funeral home. Many times, these are family businesses and they may hire within the friend or family circle. Most funeral homes typically have multiple funeral directors on staff so that they can assist each other in getting the work done. The majority of the work that a funeral director accomplishes is done indoors, and most funeral homes have separate rooms for each step of the funeral rites process. For example, there is typically a chapel in which the service is performed, a room for the viewing, and a room for the preparation of the body. Hours can vary greatly for funeral directors depending on what funeral home they work for.
One of the key personality traits that a good funeral director will possess is compassion. This is a job that deals with a lot of grief and sorrow, and it is important that the funeral director work with the customer to make the process as simple as possible. Funeral directors are subject to their own individual licensing regulations in the United States. This typically includes the completion of a post-secondary education program (associate’s degree), and passing a national board examination as well as a state board examination. Oftentimes, potential funeral directors need to serve an apprenticeship prior to certification. Many Mortuary Science majors find rewarding careers as funeral directors.