Driving a hearse requires compassion and sensitivity, as families are mourning the death of a loved one. Hearse drivers transport coffins containing the deceased from homes, mortuaries, hospitals and funeral homes to a church or cemetery in limousine-styled vehicles. In the U.S., the hearse traditionally leads the funeral procession, followed by family members and then other funeral attendees. The driver may also assist with removal of the casket from the vehicle upon arrival at the church, funeral home or cemetery. He also maintains the vehicle’s appearance before and after use.
Hearse Driver Job Requirements
Typically employed by funeral homes, hearse drivers usually undergo some on-the-job training. Drivers must be punctual and have excellent driving skills. They must drive carefully and considerately, even in severe, inclement weather, hectic traffic conditions or other adverse travel situations, such as road construction. Hearse drivers do not need to have a formal education, but they generally are required to hold a chauffeur's license. In some cases, a commercial driver’s license is also mandatory for this job.
Driver Pay and Job Growth
Hearse drivers are grouped with chauffeurs and taxi drivers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which expects jobs in the overall driving industry to grow 16 percent from 2012 through 2022. BLS numbers as of May 2013 show an annual average salary of $25,350, or $12.19 per hour, for drivers in death care services.