Funeral director jobs basically include assistant directors and senior funeral directors who work at large mortuaries. The typical funeral director owns and operates a family business, handling a variety of duties, from hearse driver to bookkeeper. Funeral directors are sometimes called morticians and undertakers, and handle death on a daily basis.
The funeral director represents the person called when a death occurs. He or she picks up the body and transports it to the funeral home. The same person generally washes the body and embalms it by draining the blood and replacing it with embalming fluid. If the deceased died violently in an accident or crime, funeral director jobs include using cotton, clay, and other materials to rebuild the body to make it look as natural as possible.
Cosmetics typically add color to the face and hands of the deceased if the family chooses an open casket. Funeral director jobs involve dressing the body and arranging the deceased in the casket. The director ensures the chapel is clean and available if a religious or memorial service is planned.
Before the actual service, one of the funeral director’s jobs includes meeting with the family or friends of the deceased to discuss what kind of service is preferred. Services can be held in the home, a religious facility, at the gravesite, or in the mortuary. If a member of the clergy will lead the ceremony, the director contacts him or her to schedule the time and date. Some families hold a wake, also called visitation, to allow viewing of the body. The director handles those arrangements as well.
A funeral director also makes sure hearses are available for the family and deceased if burial in a cemetery is planned. He or she schedules the digging of the grave with officials at the graveyard, and typically moves flowers from the mortuary to the gravesite. If family members choose to bury the deceased in another region, funeral director jobs accommodate arranging transportation of the body.
Perhaps one of the most important funeral director jobs encompasses comforting friends and family of the decreased. Funeral directors should know how different people handle grief, and burial customs in most cultures. Sometimes, a funeral director advises family members about grief-support groups in the area where they live.
Funeral director jobs incorporate keeping records required to release an official death certificate. In family-owned businesses, the job usually entails keeping financial records, tax records, and income and expense ledgers. The owner-operator might be in charge of billing and collecting money owned to the mortuary.