Crematorium staff members are just as concerned with the living as they are with the deceased. As families endure the emotional pain of their loved one's death, crematorium employees assist them through the funeral and cremation process. If you are interested in working in this industry, you can pursue numerous career paths.
Leading the Pack
The funeral director generally manages and operates the crematorium. Once a body is delivered to the facility, the director obtains documentation from the medical examiner and completes the death certificate. She then files the certificate with the state vital records department and assists the family with ordering copies. The funeral director guides family members through the selection of funeral and cremation services. She answers questions and coordinates all aspects of the funeral and cremation. The director also ensures the body is transported to the appropriate location and supervises its care prior to the cremation. The director manages the details of the funeral and supervises the other staff members as they complete their responsibilities.
Collecting the Money
Account administrators assist the family with paying for funeral and cremation services. The administrator provides detailed accounting and explains available payment options to the family. She may also help them contact life insurance agencies and pension companies for payment assistance. The account administrator also works with families who make arrangements prior to death by helping them set up prepayment plans.
Assisting the Family
The funeral hostess works during the funeral, providing the family with customer service and support during the ceremony. The hostess works under the management of the director to move the program along. She guides guests to their appropriate locations and hands out funeral programs. The hostess also provides emotional support for guests if they become overwhelmed.
Caring for the Deceased
Embalming is the process of removing the blood from the body and replacing it with chemicals to preserve it for the viewing or funeral. Depending on the time since death, embalming may not be necessary and cannot be performed in most states without the authorization of the family, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The embalmer is also responsible for preparing the body for the funeral, which may include makeup and hair styling.
Operating the Machine
Licensed by their respective states, crematory operators are the employees who work with the cremation machine. The operator is responsible for ensuring the machine is in correct working order. She checks the machine's emissions and coordinates its repair when it has problems. The crematory operator handles the body and places it in the machine for incineration. She gathers the ashes after the procedure to either discard or give to the family.
- Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium: Staff
- Crematorium and Funeral Alternatives: What Should I Do When a Loved One Dies?
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Crematory Operator Training Program
- Everlife Memorials: Ashes to Ashes - The Cremation Process Explained
- Simpson Funeral and Cremation Services: Non-Licensed Staff
- O*Net Online: Morticians, Undertakers and Funeral Directors
Erika Winston is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, with more than 15 years of writing experience. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as Imara, Corporate Colors E-zine and Enterprise Virginia. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University and a Masters in public policy from New England College.