Funeral education is essential in order to be able to work properly in a funeral business. The most common courses are the ones for senior technicians in thanatopraxy and thanatoesthetics, crematorium operator and organisation of protocol events in funeral services.
Types of funeral education
The training required to become a professional funeral worker depends, to a large extent, on the legislation in each country. In most Latin American countries, funeral education is still incipient or, in some cases, non-existent. In fact, in many cases, the position of funeral worker is hereditary and the training is acquired by an experienced master, as in traditional jobs.
In the United States, a degree in mortuary science is mandatory, in addition to one to two years of internship and passing an examination to obtain state licenses as a funeral director and embalmer. The funeral director’s degree includes compulsory internships and training in funeral management, anatomy, physiology, embalming techniques, accounting, bereavement counselling, information technology and customer service.
In Spain, the public offer is rather limited. The International Postgraduate School of the University of Granada offers training as a “Master in Funeral Services Management”. At the moment, there is no university degree or official master’s degree that qualifies you to work in a funeral home and most of the funeral education is offered in private centres. For this reason, if you do not have any kind of training, it is advisable to choose courses that allow you to prepare for the professionalism certificates approved by the SEPE:
- Certificate of professionalism in thanatopraxy.
- Certificate in funeral and cemetery maintenance activities.
- Certificate in customer service and organisation in funeral service protocol events
- Certificate of operations in funeral services
Remember that there is also free state-subsidised funeral education in thanatopraxy and thanatoaesthetics for unemployed or active workers.
Tips for choosing the right funeral education
There are three basic types of training: classroom, intensive and distance learning. You can choose the one that best suits your needs and availability, but it is very important that the funeral education, in addition to a good theoretical basis, offers the possibility of real practice.
In addition, you should check if the technical training includes a section on occupational risk prevention updated with anticovid protocols for the handling of mortuary tools, disinfection of corpses and the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Training for funeral directors
The functions of a funeral director are very broad and transverse. For this reason, it is important to choose the courses that best enhance the skills that will have to be developed on a day-to-day basis and which include:
- Effective and empathetic communication with families.
- Fully updated information on the legal regulations concerning the Mortuary Health Police.
- Administrative skills necessary to draw up a budget or understand an expense sheet, basic office skills and some computer skills.
- Enhancing the skills of the team.
Training for funerary agents
This is the most essential training for all those who want to work in a funeral home. This professional profile deals with the legal and administrative aspects of funeral management, such as receiving the death certificate. It also covers the knowledge needed to provide quality care, how to help relatives cope with a difficult grief and how to communicate effectively with your clients. It is one of the most sought-after professionals in this field of work.
Course in ceremonies and protocols
In an increasingly pluralistic and globalised world, it is important to know the main ceremonies of the different religions and what protocols should be followed in civil, secular and religious services.
Motivation and team leadership
Although it is not funeral education per se, there is a wide range of training focused on executive management to enhance management skills and learn how to lead a team, motivate workers, correctly focus on results, as well as certain coaching skills.
Action and protocol in judicial collections
It offers training on how to act in the case of judicial collections, which are those that depend on the courts and mainly refer to murders, accidents, suicides, sudden deaths…
Training courses for mortuary technicians
Technician in thanatopraxy and thanatoaesthetics
Thanatopraxy and thanatoaesthetics have become one of the most demanded sectors. This course is essential to acquire the necessary knowledge about the process of conservation and aesthetic improvement of the deceased. Training in thanatopraxy and thanatoaesthetics helps to identify the different post-mortem alterations and their treatment, as well as the process of mortuary make-up and the best techniques for the reconstruction and restoration of corpses.
Funeral agent specialised in mortuary vehicles
These funeral education offers training on how to manage the maintenance, disinfection and hygiene of a hearse and all the associated protocols, which are particularly important in this pandemic context.
This is the training that future cemetery operators must have, such as what types of burial units exist, the current regulations of the mortuary health police and the general rules on burial, exhumation, and reduction of corpses, human remains and ashes.
This course offers the necessary knowledge to handle crematorium ovens, the basic regulations in force regarding cremations, the performance of cleaning and maintenance operations, as well as the cremation process itself.
Funeral education online
Most specialised centres offer highly flexible distance funeral education to make it easier for you to continue learning and balance your work and family life. Here are some of the funeral training centres with online course options:
- McAllister Institute. This is one of the leading training academies in funeral services in the United States. It allows its students to obtain their degree online through part-time or full-time videoconferencing.
- International School of Funeral Services. This school allows total flexibility to study from wherever you want. Most of the funeral education offered is online and you will have the support of a personal tutor at your disposal.
- Spanish Funeral Institute. This official funeral training centre has a virtual campus with more than 600 certified students. It offers practical training, but also a multitude of online courses.
- Panasef. The National Association of Funeral Services in Spain regularly organises specific courses and conferences for professionals in the funeral sector, as well as for new students.
- Formación Funeraria (Funeral Training). It has a virtual campus and a wide range of online and practical funeral courses.