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Career and Education Opportunities for Embalmers in Chicago, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for embalmers in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 600 people are currently employed as embalmers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 14% to 680 people employed. 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.

A person working as an embalmer can expect to earn about $23 hourly or $48,520 per year on average in Illinois and about $18 per hour or $38,100 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for embalmers are better than earnings in the general category of Funeral in Illinois and better than general Funeral category earnings nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be an embalmer, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for embalmers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, 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

Worsham College of Mortuary Science - Wheeling, IL

Worsham College of Mortuary Science, 495 Northgate Pkwy, Wheeling, IL 60090-2646. Worsham College of Mortuary Science is a small college located in Wheeling, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 91 students. Worsham College of Mortuary Science has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated thirty-nine and fifty-one students respectively in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College, 1900 W Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60612-3197. City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,202 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College has an associate's degree program in Mortuary Science and Embalming/Embalmer which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.