Funeral director

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 help bereaved families with the arrangements for funerals. You’d give people advice and support at a distressing time.

You’d talk with the family of the deceased person, make the funeral arrangements and help them complete the legal requirements for the burial or cremation. You’d need to be able to deal sensitively with people who are distressed.

You’d arrange for the body of the deceased to be kept at your funeral home or another location – the place of rest – before the funeral.

You would:

  • Take details from relatives or friends of the deceased
  • Transfer the body to the place of rest before the funeral
  • Give advice and arrange details of the funeral
  • Arrange the date and time of the funeral with the church, cemetery or crematorium
  • Organise flowers, transport and death notices in the newspapers
  • Advise on legal requirements and help people complete the paperwork
  • Prepare the body for burial or cremation
  • Arrange for friends and relatives to visit the place of rest
  • Receive floral tributes and donations to charity
  • Advise on types of memorials, such as headstones

You would travel in the hearse to the funeral and make sure that everything runs smoothly during the ceremony.

You may also give people advice about coroners' procedures if necessary.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working hours would vary, and you could be on a rota system. Most of your administration work would be done during office hours, but you would often need to visit clients in the evenings or at weekends. You would be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Environment

Attending funerals involves being outdoors in all weather conditions.

Travel

In some jobs you may have to drive vehicles to transport the deceased.

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:

  • Communicating with people
  • Being tactful
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

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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

The normal route is to enter the industry as a funeral service operative. You may start as a funeral service arranger and administrator then progress while on the job.

There are no set qualifications to become an operative, however some employers prefer entrants to have some National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).  

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Business subjects
  • Administration subjects
  • Religious, moral and philosophical studies

You will also need

To be physically fit

Helpful to have

A full clean driving licence

National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) offers an online course in Funeral Service Awareness which leads to the Certificate of Training.

Once in the job you may be able to take a NAFD National Certificate in Funeral Arranging and Administration.