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Embalmer

Embalmers prepare the remains of people who have died and make them ready for public visitation and burial.

Also Known As

Mortician, Undertaker

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Embalmers (6272.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Funeral Directors and Embalmers (G912) 
  • 2011 NOC: Funeral directors and embalmers (6346) 
  • 2016 NOC: Funeral directors and embalmers (6346) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to prepare the remains of deceased persons for public visitation

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to preserve, sanitize and prepare remains for funeral services

directive

Interest in supervising funeral home attendants and other funeral home staff

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Embalmers use dignity and respect in their care for deceased persons. In general, they:

  • Embalm human remains to preserve and disinfect them
  • Perform cosmetology or restorative work to return bodies to as natural an appearance as possible
  • Dress deceased persons and place them in caskets
  • Maintain records, arrange equipment and assist in the general maintenance of the funeral home
  • Maintain a clean working environment and understand the importance of personal protective equipment
  • Follow health precautions and regulations for personal and public hygiene

Embalmers may also supervise funeral attendants or other funeral home staff.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Most of an embalmer’s work is done under surgical conditions in a preparation room.

In larger funeral homes, embalmers work normal office hours and some evenings. In small establishments, they may work longer hours. Embalmers may be required to transfer remains into care at any hour.

Some heavy lifting is required.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Embalmers need:

  • Discretion
  • A caring attitude toward the deceased and the bereaved
  • Emotional stability
  • Physical strength and endurance
  • The ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Finger and manual dexterity
  • An interest in clinical, scientific and artistic subjects
  • An aptitude for math
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills

They should enjoy:

  • Working with clear rules and organized methods
  • Working with tools, equipment and instruments at tasks which require precision
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary

Embalmers should have an interest in and knowledge of anatomy. They should have mathematical skills to calculate chemical strengths.

Prospective embalmers should discuss training options with practising funeral directors or embalmers before enrolling in a program.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Funeral Service Occupations

Funeral directors take charge of caring for the remains of people who have died, help families plan funeral services, and co-ordinate and manage arrangements for services. Embalmers prepare the remains for public visitation and burial. Business managers manage funeral service businesses. Pre-need salespersons draw up and sign pre-need funeral service contracts on behalf of the business.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Funeral Services Act and General Regulation, funeral directors, embalmers, business managers and pre-need salespersons must be licensed through the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board (AFSRB). A licence is not required to work as a funeral attendant under the supervision of a licensed embalmer or funeral director.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Funeral Service Occupations.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Embalmers are employed in funeral homes across the province. Licensed embalmers may train to become funeral directors, and many funeral homes prefer dual licensing as an embalmer and funeral director. For more information, see the Funeral Director occupational profile.

Embalmers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6346: Funeral directors and embalmers. In Alberta, most people employed in this classification work in the Other Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Other Services industry)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years. However, demand for embalming services is declining because more people are choosing cremation.

In Alberta, the 6346: Funeral directors and embalmers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Embalmers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6346: Funeral directors and embalmers.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Funeral directors and embalmers

2016 NOC: 6346
Average Wage
$33.19
Per Hour
Average Salary
$63,674.00
Per Year
Average Hours
36.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6346 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $31.25 $25.29 $26.00
Overall $25.00 $40.00 $33.19 $34.00
Top $30.77 $59.13 $45.59 $45.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
44%
44%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
83%
83%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
14%
14%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Funeral Service Association (AFSA) website: afsa.ca

Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board (AFSRB) website: afsrb.ab.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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