Hearse drivers transport the remains of the deceased from funeral homes to burial or cremation sites. They drive vans, limousines, coaches or other types of vehicles used to deliver the coffin to the funeral. They also help pallbearers safely load and unload the coffin to and from the vehicle. To become a hearse driver, you need the right licenses and skill sets.
Secure a Driving License
To become a hearse driver, you should hold a high school diploma or GED and a regular driver's license. Although the requirements for obtaining this license vary by state, you will typically need to pass a medical test, complete a training program, pass a driving skills test and pay a fee. As of 2014, no state was issuing a license that is specific to hearse drivers.
Gain Driving Experience
After earning a regular driving license, you can start out as a chauffeur or taxi driver instead of embarking on finding a hearse driving job. Just be aware that you need a special license to be a chauffeur or taxi driver. In many states, the requirements for obtaining a special license, or a "for-hire endorsement," are pretty similar to those of a regular license. Apart from helping you gain driving experience, taxi driving or chauffeuring helps you improve your mastery of local road systems and traffic patterns and knowledge of motoring regulations. To gain knowledge of funeral services and enhance your career prospects, you can attend a college that offers funeral directing courses.
Develop the Skills
You need more than excellent driving skills to become a hearse driver. You must be empathetic and compassionate to be able to comfort the relatives of the deceased. Emotional resilience is essential as well, because you need to quickly adapt to stressful situations and focus on driving and observing motoring laws. Hearse drivers should relate well with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, so you need excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Time management skills are essential, too, because funeral programs typically follow strict time frames.
Get a Job
Jobs for hearse drivers can be found at funeral homes, hospitals and companies that provide commercial funeral transportation services. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide job growth statistics for hearse drivers, it estimates that all funeral service occupations are expected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022. This is slightly above the 11 percent average for all occupations. In 2014, hearse drivers earned an average annual wage of $20,000, according to Indeed, an occupational resources website.
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