Embalmer

Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would preserve a person’s body from when they die until the burial or cremation. Your work would help families mourn the loss of their loved one.

You would:

  • Wash and disinfect bodies to prevent deterioration and infection
  • Remove fluids and gases from the body
  • Inject the body with preservative chemicals
  • Wash and arrange the deceased person’s hair and apply cosmetics
  • Use plaster of Paris or wax to restore the appearance of bodies with injuries

A steady hand is needed to do this delicate work using tools and surgical instruments.

You’d provide a sensitive and tactful service to bereaved families. You’d understand and respect different religious beliefs.

You would:

  • Work closely with funeral arrangers to make sure the families' wishes are met
  • Keep the mortuary clean
  • Enforce health and safety regulations
  • Check stock levels and order essential items, such as chemicals
  • Complete the necessary paperwork required by law

In this job you’d have to deal with unusual sights and smells. It is very important that you follow strict health and safety regulations.

With some employers, embalming is part of funeral directing work.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, during busy periods, you may need to cover weekends. With some employers you may need to work an on-call, emergency rota

Environment

The mortuary setting is stark and clinical, and you will spend most of the day on your feet. When embalming, you would wear protective clothing such as rubber boots, gloves and a theatre gown.

Travel

Your working day may include some travelling to different funeral parlours locally and nationally.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Being tactful
  • Working on your own
  • Working with your hands
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects such as chemistry, biology and physics

You will also need

To pass the British Institute of Embalmers (BIoE) foundation unit before completing the full registration course over two years.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate scientific skills and an understanding of religious beliefs such as:

  • Skills for Work Laboratory Science (SCQF Level 5)
  • Award in Religion, Belief and Values (SCQF Level 3-6)

Explore more information about this job