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Embalmer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Prepares bodies for interment, according to legal requirements.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Dresses bodies and places them in caskets.
  • Conforms to laws of health and sanitation and ensures that legal requirements concerning embalming are met.
  • Closes incisions, using needles and sutures.
  • Attaches trocar to pump-tube, start pump, and repeat probing to force embalming fluid into organs.
  • Washes and dries bodies, using germicidal soap and towels or hot air dryers.
  • Incises stomach and abdominal walls and probes internal organs, using trocar, to withdraw blood and waste matter from organs.
  • Joins lips, using needles and thread or wire.
  • Reshapes or reconstructs disfigured or maimed bodies when necessary, using dermasurgery techniques and materials such as clay, cotton, plaster of Paris, and wax.
  • Packs body orifices with cotton saturated with embalming fluid to prevent escape of gases or waste matter.
  • Makes incisions in arms or thighs and drains blood from circulatory system and replaces it with embalming fluid, using pump.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Mortician -- Oversees funeral rituals and prepares the body of the deceased for a final viewing.