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Myths And Misconceptions About Working In Funeral Homes


Considering a mortuary science degree may have you facing several myths and misconceptions about funeral homes and what to expect from working in one. Some of these myths have been around for years while others are simply made up to frighten newcomers as a rite of passage into the mortuary world. If you are serious about a career in funeral services, consider these myths and misconceptions and the truth surrounding each one.

Funeral Homes are Operated by Families

There is a misconception that you may never get a job in funeral home services unless your family owns a funeral business. Though most funeral homes traditionally were run by families, modern homes may be run by corporations. Some funeral homes are a conjoined business with a memorial service option like a crematorium or cemetery. Though some family businesses may not hire outside workers, you will likely find a job with a corporation if you have the right education and training.

Undertakers Handle Everything

When someone says the word undertaker, most people think of someone in a dark suit that handles everything morbid about a funeral. The reality is that undertakers don't generally handle the preparation of the body, embalming, or burial. They tend to handle the preparations with the living family members by ensuring they are taken care of from the moment they hire the funeral home to the moment the final funeral service is provided. Embalming, burial, and other tasks are handled by one or several employees of the funeral home.

Embalmers are Trained on the Job

There is a myth that embalmers are trained on the job and don't require a traditional education. In some areas of the United States this myth is partially true. If you want to be an embalmer, you must have a formal education on the duties of an embalmer, and the safety precautions, methods, and state guidelines for embalming. You can receive this training from a program at a local university, mortuary college, or in some cases directly from a school operated by a funeral home or funeral service corporation. You also will need on the job training or an internship in some states.

Cremations are Done in Front of the Family

There is a myth that you may need to perform cremations as part of a funeral service in front of the family and attendees. The truth is that most cremations are done prior to the funeral or just following the memorial service. Most crematoriums do not have the facilities to perform the service as part of a traditional funeral or memorial. However, family can be present upon request.

These are just a few of the myths surrounding working in the funeral services industry and in funeral homes. If you have encountered a myth or misconception that worries you about your mortuary science career and education, consider speaking directly with a funeral home director from a company like Clark Funeral Home Inc. They can answer all your questions and guide you to the right career option within the funeral home. 


5 February 2015