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Career and Education Opportunities for Embalmers in Elgin, Illinois

Embalmers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Elgin, Illinois area. There are currently 600 working embalmers in Illinois; this should grow by 14% to 680 working embalmers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for embalmers, which sees this job pool growing by about 5.2% over the next eight years. Embalmers generally prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements.

A person working as an embalmer can expect to earn about $23 per hour or $48,520 annually 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 sixty-one schools of higher education in the Elgin area, including one within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree to start your career as an embalmer. Embalmers usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become an embalmer if you already have a high school diploma.


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.


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.


Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.