Knowing how to become a funeral director will mean that you could join a fast growing and in demand industry. At some point in our lives, most of us will rely on a funeral director to take care of a loved one’s send off and final wishes.
It’s never an easy time but a compassionate, knowledgeable and professional funeral director can make a huge difference during such an emotional experience.
But, how exactly do you become a funeral director, what qualifications are available and what traits would you need to take on such a responsibility?
How to become a Funeral Director
Generally speaking, you’ll need a mix of classroom style education and theory, and on the job learning to work your way up to becoming a funeral director.
Entry Level Work Experience
Some funeral directors will hire casual drivers and pallbearers without the need for any formal experience. This is a great way to enter the industry and learn the tricks of the trade from an experienced professional. We’d recommend that you only take such a position from a reputable funeral home with established processes where you’ll learn best practices.
Funeral directors across the country are actively looking to bring people into the funeral profession through apprenticeships, often backed by the government.
You’ll be expected to have some previous education and qualifications, but the usual requirements are; some GCSEs for an “intermediate” apprenticeship, or 5 GCSEs graded A*-C for an advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll get real hands-on experience as well as an accredited qualification in funeral services.
There are several qualifications available in funeral services but the most widely accepted are provided by the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD).
The BIFD offer 2 levels of accreditation. The certificate in funeral service and the Diploma in funeral service.
To enrol in the Certificate in funeral service you must be working in funeral services for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
The diploma in funeral service is considered the highest qualification in the industry and requires completion of the certificate of certificate in funeral service or an equivalent qualification.
This is a career for life and working towards the position of funeral director will take time, hard work and dedication. But, if you’re passionate and commit to the process, you’ll be entering into a highly respected and rewarding position where you can truly make a difference in people’s lives.
What to expect as a Funeral Director
Working as a funeral director can be demanding both physically and emotionally.
- Although you’ll have standard working hours, it’s likely that you’ll be required to do some out of hours work. When “on call” you can expect to be called upon when someone passes away, even if it’s the early hours of the morning. From carrying coffins to walking with the hearse, you’ll have to be physically capable to carry out your normal responsibilities.
- Everyone experiences grief in their own way and, although some funerals will be straightforward, others may have more of an impact on you personally. Nobody’s expected to be emotionless, and it helps to be able to empathise, but it’s important to remain professional for the sake of the family.
- Challenges aside, being a funeral director can be an incredibly rewarding career. Being someone’s guide and support throughout what could be one of the hardest times in their life brings a great sense of purpose and gratification.
- It’s not all doom and gloom. Even though there will be many sombre moments, being a funeral director means being kind and compassionate and often learning about the deceased and their life. These days, most people want a celebration of life rather than a mourning of passing so you can expect to hear some inspirational, unexpected and, often, very funny stories about the people you take care of.
- You’ll get used to; looking after the grieving, talking about death and being around the deceased. Being a funeral director can give you a new sense of perspective on life and on death. Many funeral directors admit that their career has normalised the end of life for them.
If you are interested in becoming a Funeral Director or have any questions regarding the Funeral Industry the Funeral Directors Alliance are a network of local and trusted Funeral Directors. Call us on 0800 411 8685 or contact us to find out how you can join the Funeral Directors Alliance.