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Mortuary technician job description

Updated April 17, 2017

Mortuary technicians are primarily responsible for the care of deceased people from transportation at time of death, to the preparation and burial, or cremation of the person. Unlike other job requirements, kindness and compassion is a must-have for dealing with the deceased and their families.

Training and education

Many funeral directors require mortuary technicians to complete an apprenticeship, or training programme lasting one to three years, and to earn a degree in some form of discipline in funereal science; they must also pass a national examination. It’s possible that some mortuaries will require a specific certification, or combination of certifications that will qualify you for skill sets valued in the industry.

Expectations

As a mortuary technician, don't expect to work normal office hours. As a senior level technician, you may have the privilege of remaining at the funeral parlour helping with other duties, but you should expect to be on-call on a regular basis. You will most likely embalm or prepare the deceased for burial or entombment. During the apprenticeship individuals will discover if they are able to routinely deal with the stress involved dealing the deceased and their grieving families.

Considerations

If you have difficulty expressing compassion, this is not the job for you. Jessica Koth, public relations manager for the National Association of Funeral Directors, stresses that “people interested in following this line of work should first, be able to show respect and kindness to the deceased, and be compassionate to their families.” Koth further explained that in the business “being supportive in any way possible” is their primary goal.

Other duties

Everything in the funeral business isn’t handling human remains. Good documentation skills are a must. Technicians must be capable of understanding laws, regulatory frameworks and other legal matters pertaining to the legal requirements involved with burials, cremation and exceptions for individual faiths. Coordination abilities are also highly valued, as multi-tasking is commonplace; for example, collecting, transporting, and preparing the deceased, then attending to the family as you comply with the funeral arrangements pertaining to the last wishes of the deceased, or providing guidance to the family.

Salary

According to the UK's national careers service, as of 2014 salaries for funeral directors start at around £15,000 per year for entry-level candidates. Those working as anatomical pathology technicians, start at around £16,100 per year.

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About the Author

John White began writing professionally in 1999. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report and ESPN national radio. White's areas of expertise include sports, creative writing, entertainment, business and industry, environmental health and safety, family and organizations. He studied criminal justice at East Tennessee State University.