Embalmer Salary and Jobs
Embalmers work at funeral homes to prepare bodies of people who have passed away. Often bodies are displayed at funerals in open caskets, and embalmers are the people who make the body appear as natural and look as it did when the person was alive.
If you decide to become an embalmer, you will use chemicals like embalming fluid and formaldehyde to delay decomposition and preserve bodies. You’ll wash, dress and arrange hair as well as apply embalming makeup to bodies.
This is a very rewarding career that will give you the opportunity to help people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Your skills will help people remember and memorialize someone who has passed away.
The average salary for an embalmer is about $37,000 a year. If you work full time, you may also receive benefits like health, vision and dental insurance from your employer.
This figure is only an average, and many things can make in impact on your earning potential as an embalmer. For example, where you work and what kind of business you land a job at will play a role in your salary.
Embalmers who work at companies that have between one and nine employees usually earn between $24,000 and $42,000 a year.
As an embalmer, you could work at a funeral home, at a company or at a private practice or firm. If you work in a funeral home, you could earn between $17,000 and $50,000 a year. Embalmers who work at companies earn a higher salary: $28,000 to $51,000 a year. Embalmers employed by private practices or firms usually have an annual salary between $23,000 and $39,000.
How to Become an Embalmer
An associate’s degree program will generally take about two years to complete while a bachelor’s degree program will most likely take about four years to complete. Schools across the country offer mortuary science degree programs, so chances are there is one near you that offers this degree.
A mortuary science degree is necessary to start a career as an embalmer because the courses included in one of these programs will help you understand the science and art involved in this career.
When you enroll in a mortuary science degree program you will learn about anatomy, biology and chemistry as it relates to embalming. The basis of embalming is delaying decay of the human body, so you will need to understand the biological and chemical processes involved in decay.
Mortuary science classes will also teach you about the art of preparing a body for display at a funeral. You will learn how to wash and prepare a body and how to apply makeup that adds depth to a person’s face and makes him appear as he did before he passed away.
Many mortuary science programs will also teach you about the history of embalming and how your job as an embalmer fits into the services offered by funeral homes. The process of embalming dates back to ancient Egyptian times, and although today’s embalmers use similar techniques, their work environment is very different. A degree program will teach you about what your responsibilities in a funeral home will be, and how you can help the business achieve its overall goals.
After you have earned your degree, you will need to be licensed in the state you live and work in before you can begin working as an embalmer. Each state has its own requirements for embalmers, so you will need to contact your city or state offices to find out how to obtain a license.
When you are a licensed embalmer, you can begin applying for jobs. The most common type of embalming job is at a funeral home. However, embalmers also work in medical centers to prepare cadavers for study.
If you want to work at a funeral home, the best way to start this career is to begin applying for positions. You can also network with funeral directors and other embalmers to develop your career and find job opportunities.
If you are interested in working as an embalmer who prepares bodies to be studied you will take a similar path. This job often requires preserving bodies for longer periods of time so they can be transported greater distances, but an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in mortuary science will prepare you for this job. After you have earned your degree, you will begin searching for job opportunities for embalmers in the medical field.
Embalmers are needed in different capacities across the country. After you have earned your degree you will be ready to join the job market and start a rewarding and lucrative career as an embalmer.