The Funeral Industry and Me: A Look into the Subculture of the Funeral Industry of the United States

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Members of the funeral industry are united by the caring of the deceased. We take care of those who have died, and in doing so, we help those left behind grieve, mourn and accept their loss. It is a stable occupation, though most refer to it as a “calling”. The funeral industry accepts all most everyone. In the United States, there are more than 22,000 funeral homes. Amongst those funeral homes, there are approximately 102,877 workers. Of those 102,887 workers, there is estimated that there are 25,820 funeral directors and 8,190 embalming specialists. Most funeral homes are independent cells, unless they are part of a chain or a corporation. That said, each state has a board that oversees that state’s requirements for license and regulations, with a national board to rule of law and requirements. These boards usually hold conventions yearly to spread knowledge and draw attention to upcoming issues. To work as a funeral director or embalmer, someone must pass both their chosen state requirements and the national requirements. My personal connection to the funeral industry is that I am a funeral service intern, or a funeral director apprentice. I have worked at a funeral home for over two years. The major costs of working in the funeral industry are for those that own their own funeral home. The average funeral home handles about 100 calls per year and has around three full-time and three part-time employees. So, there is a difference in wealth between the full-time and part-time employees and difference between those that own their own funeral home against those that just work at a funeral home. Since each funeral home is for the majority independent, the “leader” is either the owner or the manager. The position is achieved th... ... middle of paper ... ... dress or business suit. However, we do what the family requests. So if the family requests t-shirts and jeans for the funeral, no suit will be in sight. Though, traditionally we look very professional and somber. Outside of the funeral home, we look no different than anyone else. Each person has their own reason why the work in the funeral industry. Some people find it a “calling”. Others see it as a job only they can do. I do it because I enjoy helping people during a dark time and I don’t feel squeamish or sick when I handle remains. This is an occupation that is needed. People do not like to be reminded of their mortality, and when they experience death, it is shocking. We are here so that we can help them move past that shock and understand and accept their loss. We’re here to care for the deceased with the respect and dignity that everyone deserves in death.

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