In order to become an embalmer in the United States of America, it is important that you know who an embalmer is? To start with, an embalmer is a professional that makes use chemicals to prevent body decomposition and preserve human remains for as long as possible. embalmers play key roles in the funeral industry, and as a career path, it has much to offer.
Becoming an embalmer is definitely not for everyone due to the nature of the job – working with dead bodies. If you feel that you have what it takes to become a professional embalmer, now is the time to start searching for an accredited embalmer training program so you can start your new career.
According to the BLS, statistics show that there will be a high demand for embalmers in the coming years. This growth is partially due to the aging baby boomer population and an increased demand for quality care for the deceased.
In the United States of America, the requirements needed to qualify as an embalmer vary from state to state, but most states require an associate degree in funeral service. As a matter of fact, the technical skill required by this profession makes it necessary for you to attend embalming school, and aim towards an embalming license.
Here is the Process You Can Follow to Become an Embalmer
Get an Embalmer Education
The process of becoming an embalmer requires a formal education through a minimum of an associate’s degree program. This training usually takes at least 2 years of full-time study and is often taught as part of a mortuary science degree. The training program includes classes in anatomy, physiology, pathology, embalming techniques, restorative arts, ethics, funeral service law, and more. In addition, certain schools will include classes in business and management. Because of the hands-on nature of the profession, it is not possible to complete training entirely online. However, some schools offer hybrid training programs that allow students to complete coursework online, only reporting to a designated location for laboratory practice and education. When comparing programs, look for those that are accredited through the American Board of Funeral Service Education.
Complete an Apprenticeship
The next thing that you are expected to do if you have acquired an embalmer education is to apply for apprenticeship. In the United States of America, all states require that embalmers serve as apprentices under the direction of a licensed funeral director or embalmer. Apprenticeship requirements vary from state to state, and some allow students to complete the apprenticeship while attending a degree program. Usually, apprentice embalmers must complete the embalming process on a specified number of bodies before being qualified for licensure. If you need more information on apprenticeship requirements in your state, it is advisable to check with the National Funeral Directors Association.
Apply and Secure Your License
In the United States, before you can work independently as an embalmer, you must become properly licensed in your state. State requirements vary from one state to the next, but typically require that you be either 18 or 21 years of age, that you have met specific educational requirements, and that you have completed the required apprenticeship. Once you meet all the qualifications to be licensed, you must submit the completed licensing application, required documentation, and licensing fees to the licensing board in your state.
Once you have successfully acquired the required training and license and qualified as an embalmer, then you will be expected to perform the following Job Description when you are employed;
1) Conform to laws of health and sanitation, and ensure that legal requirements concerning embalming are met.
2) Apply cosmetics to impart lifelike appearance to the deceased.
3) Incise stomach and abdominal walls and probe internal organs, using trocar, to withdraw blood and waste matter from organs.
4) Close incisions, using needles and sutures.
5) Reshape or reconstruct disfigured or maimed bodies when necessary, using derma-surgery techniques and materials such as clay, cotton, plaster of paris, and wax.
6) Make incisions in arms or thighs and drain blood from circulatory system and replace it with embalming fluid, using pump.
7) Dress bodies and place them in caskets.
8) Perform the duties of funeral directors, including coordinating funeral activities..
9) Join lips, using needles and thread or wire.
10) Conduct interviews to arrange for the preparation of obituary notices, to assist with the selection of caskets or urns, and to determine the location and time of burials or cremations.
11) Attach trocar to pump-tube, start pump, and repeat probing to force embalming fluid into organs.
12) Perform special procedures necessary for remains that are to be transported to other states or overseas, or where death was caused by infectious disease.
13) Maintain records such as itemized lists of clothing or valuables delivered with body and names of persons embalmed.
14) Insert convex celluloid or cotton between eyeballs and eyelids to prevent slipping and sinking of eyelids.
15) Wash and dry bodies, using germicidal soap and towels or hot air dryers.
16) Arrange for transporting the deceased to another state for interment.
17) Supervise funeral attendants and other funeral home staff.
18) Pack body orifices with cotton saturated with embalming fluid to prevent escape of gases or waste matter.
19) Assist with placing caskets in hearses, and organize cemetery processions.
20) Serve as pallbearers, attend visiting rooms, and provide other assistance to the bereaved.
21) Direct casket and floral display placement and arrange guest seating.
22) Arrange funeral home equipment and perform general maintenance.
23) Assist coroners at death scenes or at autopsies, file police reports, and testify at inquests or in court, if employed by a coroner.
24) Press diaphragm to evacuate air from lungs.
Executing the above stated job means you should be able to earn the Average Salary of an Embalmer and according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average embalmer salary in the United States is $45,060 a year but a more experienced embalmers salary can be as high as $64,400 a year, and can even be more depending on the other skills they will be bringing to the table.