Being an embalmer or funeral director is an unusual career choice, but it is one with considerable dignity and responsibility.

“My job is to preserve, sanitise, and present the deceased in such a way that the time in which family and friends spend with their deceased loved one is pleasant and creates an appropriate and long-lasting memory picture,” Jordan said.

Jordan was always attracted to a life in funeral services, and he is glad he pursued his interest in the field, but he had to gain life experience elsewhere first.

The career progression in the industry is straightforward.

“Most people start like I did as a trainee embalmer, then become a qualified embalmer, and then a funeral director or perhaps own their own funeral home. It’s the sort of job you don’t go into for the short term.

“It’s not your average job. You don’t always get a lot of thanks, but there is a high amount of personal satisfaction from having done a good job. If your embalming is success and the family is happy, you’ve done a good job. For me, this is the last time anyone is going to spend with this person, so you have to do a good job every time. “

Jordan’s advice for school leavers is to be dedicated and level-headed.

“For a person coming straight out of school, good grades are number one. Maturity is also important, as is a good work ethic. It’s not the sort of job where you can just show up when you want to.”

Average pay

  • Funeral directors/embalmers usually earn $50k–$100k per year.

(Source: Careers New Zealand)

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