I am about to embark on my Funeral Services training here in Portland, OR. Its been a nagging me in the back of my head to do it for years.. might I say its been a dream? I’m not sure if that is fitting. I will read every letter of your blog but I would love to hear from you as to how it is in the business for a woman. The average Funeral Director here is a 56 year old man.
Let me know If I could pepper you with questions also..
Natalie, first of all congrats! Please feel free to email me any questions or comments that you have at email@example.com 🙂
Hi Lauren! I recently graduated from mortuary school and passed my Nationals as well. I know exactly what you meant when you said that you feel school is sort of disconnected with the realities of the job. I haven’t started my career full-time yet in the industry. I honestly feel pretty intimidated that even though I graduated and passed, I feel like I don’t know very much about the field. I did my two year apprenticeship but I feel overwhelmed about going out on my own. How has your career been this far? Any advice on what to expect in jumping in full-time? What is a fair salary for full-time right out of school? Please let me know what it’s like! Thanks, Ryan
Hi Ryan! I honestly cannot complain about my job. Believe me, there have been ups and downs over the past five years, but I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. Being a funeral director is so rewarding and at the end of the day I really feel as if I have made a difference. When I got my first job, I was seen as the low man on the totem pole, so I often did a lot of jobs that others didn’t want. It was not fun, but looking back it actually helped me because I learned a ton. I have done everything from cleaning the funeral home and taking out the trash to embalming, meeting families and now leading my own funerals. I am so thankful that I have such a well rounded knowledge of this field. As to salary, it really depends on your employer, however it can sometimes be compared to teachers right out of school. I hope this helped 🙂
Lauren! Thank you for responding to me! I never thought I’d actually get a response! Where are you located (state is fine) Where did you graduate from? Ry
I live and work right outside of Buffalo, NY. I went to school at the New England Institute at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA.
Little Miss Funeral,
First, let me say that I adore your blog. I am about to start mortuary school in the fall, being 25 myself, its nice to see the perspective of someone of a similar age. I love that you post your outfits, you are definitely providing me with some great ideas for how to build mine for this career.
I am scheduled for an interview later this week to hopefully set up an internship, that will coincide with my schooling, as is the requirement in NJ. I was hoping you might be able to offer some direction as to how to best interview with a funeral home, since this is a new experience. I’ve always worked in bars and restaurants, so I pride myself on my adaptability and customer service, hopefully that will prove advantageous.
Any guidance would be appreciated.
Samantha,honestly, just be yourself! I went to go speak with a funeral director to get advice and he ended up offering me a job on the spot. Since you have experience with people I don’t think you’ll have any trouble selling yourself! This job is mostly about how you interact with the community and the families you serve. And just remember, there are a lot of funeral homes out there and every one will work just a little different. The right fit for you is out there, just be true to you.
I live in MA sort of near that school!
I loved my time in MA. It’s such a beautiful state and Boston…oh my goodness I can’t say enough about that city!
Thank you for your response. I ended up getting the internship!! 🙂
Thank you so much for allowing others to read of your experiences. You are a young person and have had the blessings, or misfortune, of serving those whose family and friends have passed. I am a family physician and a former director of a hospice program in Texas, so I have an inkling of understanding what you experience on a day-to-day basis. I am also grateful to know that you have a loving family who supports you. I also hope that you are taking this experience in riding like a surfer on a wave without allowing yourself to be submerged. Again thank you for sharing this. I enjoy looking forward to future posts.
I am so glad I came across your blog!
I just got a job working for a funeral home in my city as a member of the retrieval team. Before this, I have only had jobs that required uniform attire.
I have plenty of black, knee length, conservatively cut COTTON dresses, but I have been told cotton is not professional.
I simply don’t have the funds to purchase a new work wardrobe, and I am panicking a bit. Would black cotton dresses work??
If it doesn’t look like you’re going clubbing you should be good! When I was starting out (and had very little money) I shopped a lot at Forever21. You don’t need expensive clothes to be professional! Invest in a few basic pieces, a pair of black pants, a black skirt, white button up. Relax! You’re going to be great!
Excellent all around, Lauren. I’m in the midst of writing my third novel, in which the female protagonist works at a funeral home. Of course, I was wondering if I might consult you from time to time on the everyday goings on of your chosen profession..
email me any time 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw your speech and panel at the OFDA convention. You did a wonderful job. I had a question for you that I didn’t get to ask at the panel and was unable to locate you later in the day. I am in school to be a funeral director but before I decided that this was what I wanted to do I got a bunch of tattoos. A large chest piece a upper arm sleeve and a forearm sleeve. None of them are distasteful in anyway. I was wondering if this will hinder my ability to get a job. Your opinions would be appreciated.
Haylee, first of all thank you for the kind words! As to whether or not your tattoos will hinder your ability to secure a job in the future, I don’t think it should. Our outfits as funeral directors are very traditional, and a staple in our wardrobe is the suit which should cover most of your art pieces. And guess what? If your employer can’t see past your tattoos to see the awesome person that you are you don’t want to work for them anyways! I know an amazing funeral director who has a neck tattoo and she always wears a scarf so there are things we can do to cover when need be. You can’t loose you in this job, remember that!
Hi. Just found your ‘blog while working a Saturday office gig at a local funeral home. Have graduated from mortuary school but do not have embalming credentials, only funeral directing. Studying for state boards. Anyway, I wonder some days whether I’m biting off more than I should. I have kids, a husband, and around these parts it’s mostly men in the funeral biz. It’s been hinted to me that without the embalming creds I won’t be employable or as valuable. It’s also been hinted, when the male funeral directors talk about their day, that the hectic life might be one I should “think about.” Trying to not feel discouraged, but also don’t want to ignore reality. Look forward to reading your older posts. Thanks for the ‘blog. You’re a rare voice.
Thanks for reaching out Mae. It is a hard job, but one I love and one that I hope you’ll love too! Something that I learned early on is not to let anyone intimidate me or make me feel like less of a funeral director for what I do or don’t do. I know I make a difference in the lives of the families that I serve and that keeps me going when times are hard! Good luck on your journey!
Also, how do you handle the actual heavy lifting that comes with first calls, casket transport, etc.? It’s been suggested to me that women aren’t suited for the profession because they’re not physically as strong as men.
I know my strength! I know what I can and cannot do and when I cannot lift I ask for help. Casket jacks for moving caskets, body lifts for transporting bodies into caskets help a TON! There are some things I cannot do but that’s why we work as a team.
I made removals while in college back in the early 80’s, I learned a lot about the business.
Checking back in after not visiting Little Miss Funeral for a while. What I enjoy and admire so much about the blog is-even though it is so specific to such a specific industry, the points you make are universal and applicable to all careers and situations. I’m still a huge fan!
Thanks Nina 🙂
Congrats on the wee one. I had a slight suspicion. I’m an apprentice/student in a 1 year online program and a friend of Kari Northey. Keep up the good work!
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