The funeral director, also called a mortician or undertaker, handles all the arrangements for burial and funeral services of the deceased, in accordance with the family's wishes. This includes the removal of the body to the funeral home, securing information and filing for the death certificate, and organizing the service and burial plans. The director also supervises the personnel who prepare bodies for burial. A growing number of funeral directors are also working with clients who wish to plan their own funerals in advance. An embalmer uses chemical solutions to disinfect, preserve, and restore the body and employs cosmetic aids to simulate a lifelike appearance. A mortuary science technician works under the direction of a funeral director to perform embalming and related funeral service tasks. Most are trainees working to become licensed embalmers and funeral directors.
Funeral attendants are responsible for various tasks, including placing the casket in the funeral parlor or chapel before services, organizing flower arrangements and lighting around the casket, escorting mourners during viewings and services, closing the casket, and storing funeral equipment after services are complete.
Funeral home workers are employed throughout the world in small communities as well as large metropolitan areas. Because cultures and religions affect burial customs, funeral home workers must be sensitive and knowledgeable to these differences.
There are approximately 25,470 morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors in the United States. Funeral attendants hold another 35,290 jobs, and there are about 3,710 embalmers.