Do you have a strong desire to help others? Do you have the gift that puts people at ease when they talk to you? If this describes you, then you might have discovered your calling as a funeral celebrant.
Working with bereaved families from various backgrounds, and demonstrating empathy and care in all circumstances, takes a unique person. Likewise, being able to speak respectfully and professionally about someone you likely have never met requires a special kind of person.
What is a funeral celebrant?
A funeral celebrant is a qualified person who works with a bereaved family to officiate a funeral ceremony, memorial service or celebration of life. In order to provide an exceptional service, a good funeral celebrant will meticulously gather the facts of a deceased person’s life, without upsetting the bereaved family. Therefore, if you want to understand the industry better and perform your job with pride and professionalism, you should enrol in a certified celebrant course.
In this guide, we provide you with everything you need to know about becoming a funeral celebrant, including:
- What skills you need to be a funeral celebrant
- The role of a funeral celebrant
- Training as a funeral celebrant
- Funeral celebrant associations, accreditations, and regulations
Generally speaking, a funeral celebrant will only have a short time to speak with family and the funeral director. The celebrant researches information that will be useful during the ceremony, such as poetry, quotes, or other appropriate works, and drafts the speech. They will make changes in hopes of delivering a moving and proficient service. So, how do you achieve this?
How to become a celebrant
Generally, a funeral director will refer a funeral celebrant to a family planning a funeral. Many funeral directors have relationships with several celebrants they regularly recommend, so although building a relationship with a director can take time, it’s a good place to start.
What skills do I need to be a funeral celebrant?
Favoured funeral celebrants have skills that funeral service providers depend on. You should be able to:
- Communicate clearly and sensitively
- Have clear and expressive writing skills
- Actively listen to ensure key information is captured
- Speak confidently in public and one-on-one
- Build long-lasting working relationships in the industry
- Control your emotions and respond appropriately and respectfully at all times
- Work with people from a range of backgrounds
- Be flexible
- Manage invoicing and other elements of a small business
What will I do as a funeral celebrant?
Funeral celebrants will manage and officiate the funeral service. Usually the funeral directors will handle the administration of a funeral, but sometimes a funeral celebrant will handle administration too.
Your role as a funeral celebrant involves:
- Meeting with the family and getting a good understanding of who the deceased person was and how they lived their life
- Going over the details of the ceremony to help create the desired atmosphere
- Collaborating with the funeral director
- Preparing the eulogy, if necessary
- Sometime you will be asked to helping the family plan the funeral service (for example, suggest music, readings or poems)
- Planning the order of service for the funeral
- Delivering the funeral service
Funeral celebrant training
Unlike marriage celebrants, the funeral celebrant industry is unregulated in Australia. You are not required to take formal training. However, if you don’t have any experience officiating funerals or need to work on your confidence, it may be best to enrol in a funeral celebrant training course.
On average, a training course can be completed in a year or less. At completion, you will be equipped with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to create and officiate a funeral service. You may also find funeral directors are more willing to work with funeral celebrants who possess formal training.
For most people, becoming a funeral celebrant is a calling. Although it can be time consuming and emotionally taxing, being a source of comfort to people in their time of need can also be very rewarding. If you think you have what it takes to become a funeral celebrant, enrol today. The world is waiting on you!