How to Become a Funeral Celebrant
The passing of a family member or close friend is one of life’s most difficult experiences. Emotionally, the hardship and grief can be incomparable. A funeral celebrant plays a valuable and meaningful role in helping people celebrate the lives of lost loved ones.
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Funeral Celebrant Job Description
A funeral celebrant is a person who works with families to help conduct a funeral service for their loved ones. Their aim is to perform a funeral ceremony that aligns with the family’s beliefs and values. In other words, they will personalise their client’s funerals and guide them through this daunting process. For example, they will collaborate with the client to answer some key questions, such as:
Typically, many will turn to a funeral celebrant when they don’t want to hold a religious ceremony, though that does not mean a celebrant cannot help guide families that are religious.
Funeral Celebrant vs. Funeral Director
It’s easy to confuse the role of a funeral celebrant with that of a ‘funeral director’. While the two jobs are similar, there are a few key differences.
While funeral directors are specifically for funerals, a funeral celebrant is simply a celebrant — this means they can also perform other rites, such as marriage ceremonies. Also, funeral directors often take care of transporting the body, the burial and the location of the service, as opposed to celebrants, who only focus on the ceremony itself, usually fulfilling a leading speaking role. Keep in mind, however, that a funeral celebrant can also be a funeral director.
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Funeral Celebrant
Being successful as a funeral director is defined by more than your technical skillset. Personal qualities and attributes, such as empathy, play a tremendous role in helping families send off loved ones.
Education and Experience Required
While training isn’t technically required for this position, for the most part, those who want to become good funeral celebrants will have to enrol in a celebrancy training course. Most funeral directors will only recommend a celebrant who has the proper training, and for good reason. Funeral celebrants are dealing with people at their most vulnerable, which means you must answer their questions appropriately and carefully. Funeral celebrant training will equip you with the right tools to answer their questions and give grieving families the support and guidance they need to hold an important event for their loved one.
You can choose between a more general celebrant course, which focuses on marriage, family and community as well as funeral celebrancy, or a more specific courses in funeral services. Most funeral celebrants complete a Certificate IV in Celebrancy (CHC41015), since it is nationally approved. The units relevant to you are:
There’s a variety of in-class and online courses where you will learn all there is to know about celebrancy.
Celebrancy Course Entry Requirements
There are specific entry requirements for certain celebrancy courses, such as completing Year 10 at the very least and basic computer skills. Along with this, you have to be a “Fit and Proper person” according to the Attorney General criteria, as listed on the ag.gov.au website. However, others have no formal entry requirements.
Celebrancy Course Assessment
Assessments typically include both written and oral presentations, along with observation, including mock ceremonies. The more specific courses hone in on teaching its students how to perform many different funeral services and eulogies, such as a ceremony for suicide death, tragic death, etc.
Upon completion of the course, you will learn:
Pursuing a career in funeral celebrancy is both fulfilling and challenging. Your role is likely to go beyond the presentation of the funeral; you’ll be a caring shoulder to cry on, and the creator of a moment people will likely remember for years to come. If you have a natural sense of empathy, a warm and kind demeanor, and a passion for helping others, this is a meaningful career you’ll thrive in.