funeral service career path

Honoring our Shared Humanity: Careers in Funeral Service Part One, Faculty

Honoring our Shared Humanity: Careers in Funeral Service
Part One, Faculty

Funeral service is a unique career choice that unites the sciences, the arts, and a deep understanding of human nature. It takes a special type of person to succeed in this field, someone who is willing to assume the responsibilities that will ultimately shape a family’s final memories of their loved one. And beyond the scope of traditional funeral professionals are those who choose to train and educate the next generation. In this, the first of a two-part article on the Funeral Service program at Goodwin University, two instructors share why their profession means so much to them and why students might consider it as the best path for them.

Amanda B. Portelance
Assistant Professor
Goodwin University Funeral Service Program
When you hear the words “funeral service,” what do you think of — caskets, hearses, tombstones?  What feelings are evoked — sadness, loss, grief? While it’s natural for these images and experiences to come to mind, there is so much more to these cultural customs that nearly everyone, at some point, goes through in honoring those who have mattered most to them.

In the funeral service profession, funeral directors take care of grieving families and provide celebration-of-life services for their loved one. It was the care and compassion my family received when my beloved Nonno passed away that first set me on the path to pursue this profession. Kim, a caring, well-spoken, female funeral director, took the lead on Nonno’s services and guided my family through the process of laying him to rest. Kim’s kindness and understanding made such an impact on me that I decided to explore this as a career path.

You may ask, what exactly do funeral directors do? What are their day-to-day responsibilities? They assist families in shaping the end-of-life services appropriately, from casket and urn selection, writing obituaries, and coordinating church and graveside services to embalming human remains and assisting with floral arrangements. All these elements, when put together, result in services and ceremonies that capture the spirit of the departed loved ones.

Funeral directors wear many hats for the families they serve. Every day brings new challenges and new experiences from which to learn. In addition to overseeing practical considerations, they also serve as caretakers, listeners, confidants, and shoulders to lean and cry on. Most importantly, they become an extension of a family during one of the most difficult times in their lives — and every family served is different from the last. Each decedent comes with unique circumstances, and a funeral director’s care in serving families is pivotal to finding comfort and closure for the family.

Jesse M. Gomes
Program Director 
Goodwin University Funeral Service Program
Are you looking to begin an exciting, dynamic career where you can truly help others? Whether you have considered a career in funeral service or have never even heard of it, we at Goodwin University encourage you to explore our program to see if this profession is the right fit for you. The opportunities for a fascinating education, a secure career and future, and lifelong professional relationships are just some of the reasons you should consider joining our Funeral Service program.

We are looking for self-motivated, service-oriented, engaged students who are interested in embarking upon a new path, learning the skills, customs, history, and science that make up the funeral service profession. Whether you have not yet chosen a career path or are looking for a career change, joining the Funeral Service program may be the first step on your way to a rewarding, lifelong profession.

We all have heard the term “first responders ” — the police, fire departments, healthcare workers, and others who help those in need and are often regarded as heroes for their compassionate care. But have you ever heard of “last responders”? These funeral directors and embalmers are equally deserving of accolades as they provide care and direction to individuals, families, and communities as they face what may be the most challenging, chaotic, inconceivable moments in their lives.

Goodwin University will prepare you to provide others with comfort and guidance at these times. Our small class sizes allow for close access to our educators whose personal experience in the field allows them to provide you with reliable tools and real-time, hands-on education. Our facilities include a full-scale funeral home showroom, in-class business and professionalism training, hands-on embalming and restoration techniques, and a robust statewide internship program. You need only bring your enthusiasm for learning and interest in becoming a trusted resource for the communities you serve.

Click here for: Honoring our Shared Humanity: Careers in Funeral Service, Part Two, the Students.

The mission of the Goodwin University’s Funeral Service Program is to facilitate the training of students to become funeral service professionals and to instill in our students the foundation of integrity, compassion, and moral ethics needed to be successful in our ever-changing contemporary society. Click here for more information about the Goodwin’s Funeral Service program as well as career options available to you after passing the state board exam.