“Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Those who are interested in an offbeat career that is rewarding, challenging, and helps family members say goodbye to their loved ones, may consider a career in the mortuary science field. Sometimes, the idea of embalming makes people uncomfortable. But the truth is that this role is a very important one. It gives the deceased person, and their mourning families, the dignity and respect they deserve. Embalmers often work in family-run businesses for many years and enjoy a highly regarded career.
While the practice of embalming goes back to ancient Egypt, it only gained popularity here in the U.S. after the Civil War. People wanted one last look at their loved ones while saying their goodbyes. The modern take on health and sanitation made it an important part of community health, as well. The work on an embalmer is considered one that blends art and science.
If you are considering this career path, you may be wondering exactly how to become an embalmer. Read on, as we outline the steps you must take to become an embalmer in Connecticut.
- Start with an Education
The first step in becoming an embalmer, of course, is with a great education. The Mortuary Science degree program at Goodwin University offers prospective embalmers the foundation needed to succeed in this growing industry. The program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFS) – a requirement when becoming an embalmer.
This 65-credit program may be completed in as little as 24 months full-time, with part-time class options available. Classes are offered in the evenings, to accommodate those students who are working and possibly juggling family obligations.
The mortuary science classes at Goodwin are taught by industry professionals who have years of experience. They are all members of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) as well as the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and are actively working in the field today. Interesting embalming courses include:
- Restorative art
- Embalming I and Thanato-Chemistry
- Embalming II
Lab training and internship experience are also a part of the Funeral Service program. This gives students hands-on training before entering the field.
- Fulfill an Apprenticeship & Develop Skills
The internship – or apprenticeship – experience is an important one for those interested in becoming an embalmer. In fact, it is a required step. At Goodwin University, internships are offered at funeral homes all across the state of Connecticut. With the work of an internship, you will gain experience in the following areas:
- Restorative art
- Business management
Students must complete at least 180 hours of internship work. They must also participate in 10 embalming projects, as well as an additional 30 hours of on-campus class work learning about funeral service business management.
Between the work in the classroom, work in the lab, and hands-on experience within an apprenticeship, students gain valuable tools needed to succeed in the funeral service field. When a person dies, the embalmer is responsible for preparing the body for burial. This work can be both creative and artistic, as the embalmer must find ways to restore the remains to a natural appearance. The work requires a person to handle precise tools and instruments in a highly organized process. Some of the tasks demanded of an embalmer include:
- Cosmetic work to improve appearance
- Dressing the deceased person and placing their body in the casket
- Preserving the body, using chemicals to do so
In order to succeed as an embalmer, you must be compassionate, mentally healthy, and emotionally stable. Successful embalmers also must obtain the following skills:
- Physical strength and stamina
- Manual dexterity
- Interpersonal skills
- Time-Management skills
- Get Certified in Your State
Once you have completed your program – including coursework and apprenticeship – you will be able to take your state board exam. In Connecticut, this means you must successfully complete the Arts and Sciences examinations of the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards (CFSEB).
- Click here for the exam application and fee information.
Graduates of Goodwin’s mortuary science school are prepared for their apprenticeships, the state board exam, and, eventually, the careers of their dreams. With a little work, dedication, and commitment to your craft, you will soon be on the road to helping families say goodbye to their loved ones, which is an important part of life. The work of an embalmer is creative and rewarding. The Career Services Team at Goodwin University can help you find the funeral home or health facility that is perfect for you. From resume building to networking, we don’t stop until you are working in a role that is both fulfilling and satisfying.
Get your career started in the Funeral Services and Mortuary Science field, by visiting Goodwin University online or calling 800-889-3282! To learn about other, related career paths, do not hesitate to visit these articles:
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.