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Career and Education Opportunities for Embalmers in Birmingham, Alabama

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for embalmers in the Birmingham, Alabama area. There are currently 200 jobs for embalmers in Alabama and this is projected to grow by 11% to about 220 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for embalmers are expected to grow by about 5.2%. Embalmers generally prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements.

The income of an embalmer is about $15 per hour or $32,780 per year on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,100 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Funeral, people working as embalmers in Alabama earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Funeral nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be an embalmer, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Embalmers usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn to be an embalmer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Embalmer

Embalmer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, embalmers prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements.

Embalmers conform to laws of health and sanitation and insure that legal requirements concerning embalming are met. They also perform special procedures needed for remains that are to be transported to other states or overseas, or where death was caused by infectious disease. Equally important, embalmers have to close incisions, using needles and sutures. They are often called upon to reshape or reconstruct disfigured or maimed bodies when needed, using dermasurgery techniques and materials such as clay, cotton, plaster of Paris, and wax. They are expected to make incisions in arms or thighs and drain blood from circulatory systems. Finally, embalmers perform the duties of funeral directors, including coordinating funeral efforts.

Every day, embalmers are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to control objects and devices with precise control.

It is important for embalmers to conduct interviews to manage the preparation of obituary notices, to help with the selection of caskets or urns, and to establish the location and time of burials or cremations. They are often called upon to supervise funeral attendants and other funeral home staff. They also direct casket and floral display placement and arrange guest seating. They are sometimes expected to dress bodies and place them in caskets. Somewhat less frequently, embalmers are also expected to manage transporting the deceased to another state for interment.

Embalmers sometimes are asked to attach trocars to pump-tubes and repeat probing to force embalming fluid into organs. They also have to be able to insert convex celluloid or cotton between eyeballs and eyelids to inhibit slipping and sinking of eyelids and take care of records such as itemized records of clothing or valuables delivered with body and names of persons embalmed. And finally, they sometimes have to make incisions in arms or thighs and drain blood from circulatory systems.

Like many other jobs, embalmers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Embalmer Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated twenty-three and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

LICENSES

Embalmer

Licensing agency: Board of Funeral Services
Address: P O Box 309522, Montgomery, AL 36130-9522

Phone: (334) 242-4049
Website: Board of Funeral Services

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.