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Career and Education Opportunities for Embalmers in Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you want to be an embalmer, the Grand Rapids, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 240 jobs for embalmers in Michigan and this is projected to grow by 11% to about 270 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%. In general, embalmers prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements.

Embalmers earn approximately $17 hourly or $37,270 yearly on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $18 per hour or $38,100 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Funeral, people working as embalmers in Michigan earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Funeral nationally.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as an embalmer. Embalmers usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying 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

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.