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Career and Education Opportunities for Embalmers in Alexandria, Virginia

Embalmers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for embalmers sees this job pool growing by about 5.2% over the next eight years. In general, embalmers prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements.

A person working as an embalmer can expect to earn about $21 hourly or $43,760 per year on average in Virginia and about $18 per hour or $38,100 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Embalmers earn more than people working in the category of Funeral generally in Virginia and more than people in the Funeral category nationally.

The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as an embalmer. The most common level of education for embalmers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become 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

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree program in Mortuary Science and Embalming/Embalmer which graduated seven students in 2008.

LICENSES

Funeral Embalmers

Licensing agency: Department of Health Professions
Address: Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, 6606 West Broad Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23230-1717

Phone: (804) 662-9908
Website: Department of Health Professions Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.