Cemetery attendant

Cemetery attendant's work environment


Cemetery attendants maintain the cemetery ground in good condition. They ensure the graves are ready for burial prior to funerals and ensure accurate burial records. Cemetery attendants offer advice to funeral services directors and the general public.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to cemetery attendant:

churchyard attendant
cemetery worker
graveyard worker
burial site worker
undertaker’s helper
burial ground worker
graves digger
burial site attendant
cemetery labourer
burial ground attendant
burial grounds custodian
graveyard attendant

Working conditions

Cemetery attendants are employed by funeral homes, cemeteries, or crematories. They generally work full time, although some may work part time. They may work evenings, weekends, and holidays, and overtime is often required.

Cemetery attendants typically work outdoors in all types of weather conditions. The work can be physically demanding, as workers are required to lift heavy objects, dig graves, and operate machinery. The work can also be emotionally demanding, as workers must deal with grieving families and the death of loved ones.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a cemetery attendant. Depending on the duties, a driver’s license may be required.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Cemetery attendant is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Cemetery attendant career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to cemetery attendant.

funeral attendant
funeral services director
hearse driver
dewatering technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of cemetery attendant. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of cemetery attendant with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

desalination technician
mine surveying technician
dredging supervisor
water conservation technician supervisor
dismantling supervisor

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of cemetery attendant.

  • Liaise with local authorities: Maintain the liaison and exchange of information with regional or local authorities.
  • Cooperate with funeral directors: Make arrangements and work together with funeral directors who provide funeral services for people buried on the cemetery under your responsibility.
  • Advise on funeral services: Provide relatives of the deceased person with information and advice on ceremonial, burial and cremation services.
  • Promote human rights: Promote and respect human rights and diversity in light of the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of autonomous individuals, taking into account their opinions, beliefs and values, and the international and national codes of ethics, as well as the ethical implications of healthcare provision, ensuring their right to privacy and honouring for the confidentiality of healthcare information.
  • Maintain burial records: Maintain records on the allocation of graves and the information of the people that were buried.
  • Administer appointments: Accept, schedule and cancel appointments.
  • Affix memorial plaques: Attach memorial plaques to the right gravestones as requested by the deceased person’s will or by their relatives.
  • Prepare graves: Make sure that graves are excavated and ready for burial prior to funerals and backfilled when the coffin is in the grave.
  • Maintain inventory of tools: Keep an inventory of tools utilised in manufacturing or in the provision of services. Ensure that tool sets remain complete and suitable for use.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of cemetery attendant. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Cost management: The process of planning, monitoring and adjusting the expenses and revenues of a business in order to achieve cost efficiency and capability.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of cemetery attendant. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Provide visitor information: Provide directions and other relevant information to visitors.
  • Greet guests: Welcome guests in a friendly manner in a certain place.
  • Maintain turf and grass: Establish and maintain fine turf, grassed fields, and synthetic surfaces for sports events. Ensure a pleasant appearance of the property grounds.
  • Oversee maintenance work: Oversee the landscaping maintenance work: mowing, strimming, spraying, weeding and pruning.
  • Operate landscaping equipment: Operate a variety of landscaping equipment such as chain saws, line trimmers, tillers, back hoes, bobcats, bed edgers, mowers, blowers, dump trailers, tillers, sod cutters, weed eaters, plant augers, and drills.
  • Maintain plant soil nutrition: Manage and support overall soil nutrition. Practice sustainable gardening techniques and integrated pest management in gardens both outdoor and indoor.
  • Prepare planting area for planting: Prepare planting area and soil for planting by fertilising, mulching and performing weed control. Take the conditions of the area, soil and plant type into account.
  • Operate excavator: Operate excavators used to dig materials from the surface and load them onto dump trucks.
  • Relate empathetically: Recognise, understand and share emotions and insights experienced by another.
  • Maintain plant health: Manage and support overall plant health. Practice sustainable gardening techniques and integrated pest management in gardens both outdoor and indoor.
  • Lift heavy weights: Lift heavy weights and apply ergonomic lifting techniques to avoid damaging the body.
  • Plant according to guidelines: Plant according to guidelines including digging, staking and maintenance.
  • Prune plants: Carry out pruning with relevant tools, related to the different purposes like maintenance pruning, pruning for growth, pruning for fruiting, debudding and volume reduction.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
  • Assist in the placement of gravestones: Provide assistance to companies or other professionals that place tombstones on graves.

ISCO group and title

5163 – Undertakers and embalmers

  1. Cemetery attendant – ESCO
  2. Cemetery worker | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Cemetery Worker Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: Photo by Luís Alvoeiro Quaresma on Unsplash
Last updated on November 14, 2022

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