Embalmers are responsible for preparing the bodies of the deceased for viewing and burial. They wash bodies with disinfectant and replace the blood with embalming fluid to preserve the tissues. Embalmers also complete restorative work, apply cosmetics and dress the body to create a more natural appearance before positioning the deceased in a casket.
Embalmers work in funeral homes, hospitals, educational institutions and professional associations. Due to the nature of their work, they must be comfortable with death and the human body. The short time between death and funeral services means embalmers work long hours, nights and weekends to prepare the body for viewing.
Embalmers must graduate from an accredited mortuary science program, which lasts at least two years.
The one-year program at Des Moines Area Community College is the only embalming program in Iowa and requires an associate’s degree to be admitted.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
The outlook for embalmers is far below average. The 10-year growth rate is only 5%.