How Do I Become a Morgue Attendant?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A morgue attendant provides assistance to a pathologist by preparing bodies for examination, assisting with autopsies, keeping records, and preparing chemicals used in preservation. The requirements for this job vary but usually include a high school diploma and knowledge of autopsy and embalming procedures. Some jobs may require you to study mortuary sciences or a related college major as well. Even when completing a degree program is not a requirement, completing such a program may help you compete for a job. Additionally, you will likely need computer skills and a driver's license to become a morgue attendant.

A morgue attendant helps prepare bodies for autopsy.
A morgue attendant helps prepare bodies for autopsy.

One of the most important qualifications for becoming a morgue attendant is feeling reasonably comfortable in the presence of deceased people. If you are likely to become frightened or overwhelmed in a room with dead people, this may not be the best career choice for you. Likewise, you may be well-suited to this job if you can view blood, internal organs, and wounds without becoming squeamish. Additionally, you will likely need the ability to calmly deal with sounds and odors that may be viewed as unpleasant.

Morgue attendants must feel comfortable around the deceased.
Morgue attendants must feel comfortable around the deceased.

The education requirements for becoming a morgue attendant may depend on the jurisdiction in which you seek a job. As such, your first step in this process may be researching the criteria of the jurisdiction in which you plan to work. This way, you can ensure that you do not overlook preparation requirements and have a difficult time qualifying for a job when you are ready.

Often, a high school diploma is required to become a morgue attendant, but a jurisdiction-accepted substitute is usually considered appropriate as well. Since aspiring attendants sometimes spend a significant amount of time studying science-related topics, attempting rigorous high school courses in the sciences may help prepare you for further education. The math and health courses you take in high school may also provide you with fundamental knowledge helpful as you pursue higher education and eventually a job as a morgue attendant.

Depending on the jurisdiction and prospective employer preferences, you may also have to enroll in an associate's degree program to become a morgue attendant. For example, you can enroll in a mortuary science or pathology assistant program that provides you with the knowledge you need to qualify for and excel in this job. As you study in one of these areas or in a related field, you will likely gain important knowledge of anatomy, medical terminology, autopsy procedures, and biological terminology. You might also study embalming and learn about funeral practices in his type of program.

You may also need skills in a number of areas to become a morgue attendant. For example, you will likely need computer skills and to be adept at collecting and compiling data. Skills with measuring and weighing are also important, and you may need to understand forensic photography as well. Additionally, some jobs will require you to have a driver's license.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@discographer-- The person probably has to be a nursing assistant or a medical assistant. So anyone with a nursing assistant qualification can do it. Since one has to apply to the hospital, hospitals may have slightly different requirements. I think most hospitals prefer people who also have some experience with patients or in a medical facility, in addition to the certification. Like the article said, it helps to be familiar with human anatomy, biology and to be comfortable around deceased.

Even if the work is at a funeral home, morgue attendants need to have a background in medicine and certification.


What about morgue attendants that just work at a hospital? Do they need different qualifications or education?


I know someone who is a morgue attendant. We always have very interesting conversations because this is a job that I could never do. I would be very afraid around deceased people and I dislike funerals for this reason. But I ask him how he is able to do it without getting scared or feeling uneasy. I think it's just a personality trait. Some people are not frightened easily and they just think about it as a job. It's certainly not something that everyone can handle.

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