Also known as morticians or undertakers, funeral directors provide these services for the family of the deceased. While this profession is not for everyone, funeral directors take enormous satisfaction in their ability to provide well-organized, appropriate services and to console grieving family members and friends.
Funeral practices and rites vary greatly among cultures and religions. However, funeral practices usually share some common elements—removing the deceased to a mortuary, preparing the remains, performing a ceremony that honors the deceased and addresses the spiritual needs of the family, and carrying out final disposition of the deceased.
The majority of funeral homes are small, family businesses where the funeral director is either an owner-operator or an employee.
High school students can start preparing for a career as a funeral director by taking courses in biology and chemistry and participating in public speaking or debate clubs. Part-time or summer jobs in funeral homes also provide good experience. These jobs consist mostly of maintenance and cleanup tasks, such as washing and polishing limousines and hearses, but they can help students become familiar with the operation of funeral homes.
Burial in a casket is the most common method of disposing of remains in the United States, although entombment also occurs. Cremation, which is the burning of the body in a special furnace, is increasingly selected because it can be less expensive and allows for the memorial service to be held at a more convenient time in the future when relatives and friends can come together.
Funeral directors should possess a number of important personal traits, including tact, composure, and the ability to interact comfortably and communicate well with the public. Perhaps most important, funeral directors must want and be able to comfort people during times of grief.
ORGAN DONATION – Giving the gift of life is an unselfish act. It is something that you and your family can do by taking responsibility now and letting your wishes be known on your driver’s license and most importantly, to your next of kin as they will have the ultimate say in what happens to you at the time of your death.
Did you know about the MetFDA?
MetFDA is a professional trade association representing corporate and independent funeral establishments in the New York Metropolitan region including Westchester County.
Did you know Funeral Directors are considered First Responders? …That’s right, funeral directors are trained and vaccinated so they can enter hazardous areas along with police, medical workers, health officials, etc. In fact, MetFDA Members served as volunteers during the TWA Flight #800 crash operation, offering bereavement and administrative support.
MetFDA Members also assisted government agencies responding to the World Trade Center disaster and the crash of American Airlines Flight #587 in the Rockaways.
MetFDA is a strong advocate of the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) which provides improved customer service for bereaved families.