How do I become a mortuary technician?

18 October 2022  •  Locum
How do I become a mortuary technician?

Mortuary technicians are responsible for handling the bodies of deceased persons and preparing them for burial or cremation. This job requires both sensitivity and respect as well as knowledge of anatomy and proper chemical handling procedures. If you are wondering, 'how do I become a mortuary technician?', you will need to meet certain prerequisites and receive training. Here is all you need to know about how to get into this field.

What is a mortuary technician?

If you have ever wondered what a mortuary technician does, the first thing to know is that they work as part of a team, either in funeral businesses, in the NHS or private hospitals, Universities, private or public mortuarys. Here they prepare bodies for burial or cremation and are responsible for making sure that everything goes smoothly during the funeral process.

A lot of their work involves embalming, which means cleaning and dressing a body for viewing purposes, but they also assist families in organising graveside services. They sometimes take part in post-mortems to determine causes of death, so they may be responsible for removing organs from bodies during autopsies.

Preparation to become a mortuary technician

To join the field, you must be at least 18 years old, have good communication skills and be able to work in a fast-paced environment. If you are interested in becoming a technician, it’s beneficial to take classes that will help you develop some of the skills needed for the work.

Here are some of the recommended secondary school classes you could take to prepare you for the field:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Science (in general)
  • English literature

What is a qualification in funeral services?

Even though the requirements to become a mortuary technician will vary from employer to employer, some may require you to have a qualification from The British Institute Of Funeral Directors.

Although certification is not always required, it still shows employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills they seek in their employees, which can help you advance in your career.

Additionally, having completed a Certificate in Funeral Service or the Diploma in Funeral Service, means that you will stand out from other applicants, which gives you a great advantage when trying to get into the field.

Required training

Training to be an Anatomical Pathology Technician (APT), the technical term for a mortuary technician, is complete in a workplace. The training takes two years and after this time you will be awarded a certificate. After completing this training you will be able to work as a mortuary technician, however, if you want to be qualified to complete autopsies you will need to continue your education by completing a further Diploma in Anatomical Pathology Technology, which takes another two years. With this advanced diploma, you may be able to apply and work in a team leader or management position within a morgue.

While technically, only GCSEs are a pre-requisite to APT training, it is becoming a highly competitive field so completing the courses mentioned above, or a relevant qualification such as Forensic and Biomolecular Science may help you to secure a training position or a paid position after your qualification.

Licensing requirements vary

Since the requirements for the field can vary between countries, it is important that before learning how to become a mortuary technician, you find out the specific requirements for a country. For example, in the UK there is not a specific mortician license required.

Once you have met the licensing requirements for the area you hope to work in and received a certification from the employer where you completed your training program, you will be qualified to enter a job in this role.

Skills you will need as a mortuary technician

A mortuary technician is an important job that requires a lot of essential skills to be able to complete it to a high standard.

For example, as well as carrying out general lab skills, you will also be communicating with people in a vulnerable state, so you need to be able to adapt to these varying circumstances.

Here are some of the skills you will need whilst fulfilling this job role:

  • Good attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Working in a team
  • Good at following instructions
  • Time management
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Detail oriented

Do I need a VISA to be a mortuary technician?

If you are currently based overseas working as a mortuary technician or in a similar role, you will likely qualify for a Skilled Worker VISA and may be able to continue your work/training in the UK. Check the website for specific entry requirements.

How much do mortuary technicians earn in the UK?

The average salary for a mortuary technician can vary based on experience and location, the average salary is usually between £19,917 to £31,533. For example, roles based in London usually command a higher salary due to the higher cost of living in the UK's capital city. Mortuary technicians with higher qualifications and more experience can also usually negotiate a higher salary than entry-level positions. Locum APTs can expect to earn rates up to £40 an hour.

Get in touch

If you're wondering 'how do I become a mortuary technician?', then visit Globe Locums, a healthcare recruitment agency that can help you find an NHS job in the UK! We help qualified professionals currently living

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