Beginning Your Career

Funeral service is a career choice that delivers an immense amount of satisfaction. Whether you’re embarking on your first career, looking to change careers or sharing your experience with someone entering the profession, the rewards and satisfaction in this field are unlimited.

Funeral service roles

Funeral service professionals work in funeral homes in many different capacities and roles. Funeral professionals are caring and empathetic people who walk with the bereaved through one of life’s most difficult journeys. Funeral professionals also aid the bereaved in one of the most daunting but rewarding tasks: the final care of their loved ones.

The funeral director

The Funeral Director is a licensed professional who enables families and communities to celebrate a life and provides support for the living by:

  • Helping the bereaved during the initial stages of their grief;
  • Assisting with planning meaningful services and ceremonies in which people of different faiths and cultures express their feelings and practice their beliefs; and
  • Carrying out administrative and logistical tasks required by law, custom and acceptable practice.

The embalmer

Throughout history, care and respect for the deceased has been reflected in a deep appreciation for those who have chosen a career of caring for the physical needs of the deceased and for the psychological needs of those who mourn their passing. Today, the duties of the embalmer are regarded as sacred tasks and must be performed in a dignified and professional manner. It is the duty of the embalmer to disinfect, preserve and restore the deceased so that the health of the public will be protected while creating a pleasant memory picture for the bereaved. Viewing the deceased can provide reality and offer the first step of a healthy grief experience.

Are you interested in:

  • Helping others?
  • Human biological sciences?
  • Community involvement?
  • A business environment?

A funeral service professional:

  • Works with the bereaved, providing sensitive, effective intervention during a time of emotional need.
  • Is a caregiver who enables families and communities to express their concern for life and the living.
  • Is a licensed professional who practices a unique vocation and who is legally required to possess certain professional qualifications.
  • Is involved in a variety of activities within the community.
  • Carries out administrative and logistical tasks required by law, custom and accepted practice.

Duties and responsibilities of a funeral professional:

  • Provides support to the bereaved during the initial stages of their grief.
  • Arranges and directs funeral ceremonies.
  • Arranges for transfer of the deceased from the place of death.
  • Prepares the body according to the wishes of the survivors and requirements of the law.
  • Secures information for legal documents.
  • Registers death and other legal papers.
  • Assists survivors with details for filing claims for death benefits.
  • Helps individuals adapt to changes in their lives following a death through post-death counselling and support group activities.

Entering the funeral profession

People enter a funeral service career for many reasons and at various times in their lives. Some know at a very early age that this is their profession of choice, while others come to the decision after careers in other fields. Some reasons you may be drawn to funeral service include:

  • You are a caregiver who enjoys serving others.
  • You believe that ceremony is an effective means of expressing feelings and meeting needs.
  • You are tolerant of ways in which people of different faiths and cultures express their feelings and practice their beliefs.
  • You are interested in the technical sciences.
  • You exhibit sensitivity and compassion for those who you are in contact.
  • You are interested in learning all aspects of a business.

A career in funeral services allows you to:

  • Obtain an education which may be paid for by your employer
  • Work while you are attending school and be paid a salary
  • Apply your education immediately and develop practical on the job skills

In BC, Embalmers and Funeral Directors are licensed and regulated by Consumer Protection BC. In order to obtain your license, you must complete the BC Funeral Services Apprenticeship Program. You will select one of two routes to your new career:

  • Apprenticeship Program – a two year full time employment and academic program
  • Foundation Program – a one year academic program. In order to continue and obtain a license, students must then gain employment prior to the second year of study, and complete two years of work experience.

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Careers in Our Profession

Funeral service is a career choice that delivers more personal satisfaction than almost any other. Whether you’re embarking on your first career, looking to change careers or sharing your experience with someone entering the profession, the rewards and satisfaction in this field are unlimited.

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British Columbia Funeral Association
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