A crematorium operator or technician works in a crematorium and is responsible for the smooth running of the day-to-day operations of the site. According to the National Careers Service, to do this job you need to be reliable with practical skills and the ability to deal sensitively with bereaved families.
Training is usually provided on the job so no formal qualifications are usually expected for entry level positions. According to My World of Work, personal qualities are more important than educational qualifications but it helps if you have experience of working with the public. Basic administrative and IT skills are useful.
Cremations generally take place Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm but some services may also take place at weekends. Working hours are typically 8.30am to 4.30pm, however you may be required to work late. The role is predominantly indoors but may include some grounds maintenance and gardening work. You will have to stand a lot and sometimes bend, lift and carry so good physical fitness is essential. A smart, dark suit is uniform for chapel work and you will wear protective overalls when working outside or during final cremations.
The work of a crematorium operative is varied and takes into account the whole cremation cycle. Manual duties include cleaning and preparing the chapel, operating, cleaning and maintaining the equipment, receiving and carrying the coffin, gardening and storing and disposing of the cremated remains. Office duties include record keeping and administrative tasks. Crematory operatives also welcome bereaved families and accompany visitors to existing memorials.
Salaries are usually based on local authority rates for manual workers so vary depending on location. A typical starting salary is around £12,000 per annum rising to £17,000 for those with one year or more experience.
Training and development
Employers will generally arrange for new employees to follow the Crematorium Technicians' Training Scheme (CTTS). The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) run this. Successful operatives will gain either an intermediate or an advanced certificate for ICCM Technical Operations. With experience, crematorium operatives can study for a crematorium management certificate or diploma. The employer usually funds qualifications.
The next step up the career ladder is a senior crematorium technician and is a natural progression with experience. Salaries are typically between £17,000 and £19,000. Crematorium managers are responsible for all staff and operations of the site with average salaries around £30,000.