A funeral director works in a funeral home, and oversees the planning, organization, and management of all aspects of funeral services. The job description of a funeral director involves patience and compassion, emotional stability, management training, and organizational skills.
A funeral director meets with families of the deceased, makes funeral service and cemetery visit arrangements, orders caskets, arranges wakes and memorial services, and tends to other family requests as necessary.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Funeral Director
- Meets with families of the deceased to discuss funeral arrangements and requests.
- Explains pricing and product information for caskets and flowers to family and/or friends.
- Orders casket, flowers, and other necessities for funeral and memorial services.
- Makes arrangements for pallbearers, readers, and other participants in the funeral.
- Assists family in selecting a grave stone if necessary or puts them in touch with cemetery personnel.
- Oversees preparation and embalming of the deceased prior to the funeral.
- Accepts and process payments for funeral services.
- Ensures that set-up for the memorial service, wake, and funeral adheres to families’ wishes.
- Maintains cleanliness and organization of the funeral home.
- Oversees transportation of casket to church and cemetery.
- Addresses and resolves and customer issues or complaints.
- Maintains positive relationships with vendors, church officials, and cemetery directors.
- Creates and manages funeral home budget.
- Oversees payroll processing and distribution for funeral home employees.
- Orders supplies for funeral home as needed.
- Oversees funeral home schedule.
- Hires receptionists and administrative assistants to work at the funeral home.
- Assigns duties to funeral home staff as necessary.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
- Exhibits patience, empathy, and compassion.
- Can communicate calmly and kindly with bereaved family and friends.
- Pays close attention to detail.
- Exhibits ability to properly manage and oversee a budget.
- Demonstrates familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, budget software, and payroll software.
- Exhibits strong leadership skills.
- Is familiar with proper etiquette and procedure for a range of religious or cultural funeral services.
- Possesses strong listening skills.
- Possesses knowledge of embalming and burial services.
Education and Experience
A funeral director holds a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in Business or Management. Funeral directors also have several years of experience workingin funeral homes, and are well versed in the protocols and procedures of the industry.
A funeral director spends a significant portion of time in a personal office within a funeral home, meeting with families and making funeral arrangements. Funeral directors are also present at wakes and memorial services sponsored by the home, and will travel with the family to church and then to the cemetery and grave site following funeral services. Directors generally work 40-hour weeks, though hours may vary depending on the needs of the family, and weekend and evening hours are common. The job of a funeral director can be emotionally taxing and stressful.
The average salary for a funeral director is $50,000 per year. Annual salaries range from $30,000 to $90,000 per year depending on years of experience and the size and profile of the funeral home.