Bereavement coordinators provide counseling services to those who have experienced the death of someone close to them. They typically need a master's degree as well as some experience in grief counseling or working with the terminally ill.
A bereavement coordinator helps families who have lost or have a terminally ill loved one. Individuals in this career handle a variety of tasks, such as making funeral or memorial service arrangements, arranging counseling, and providing information as needed to the bereaved.
They act as the main manager of the volunteers, medical staff, and others who are working with the bereaved. These professionals can work in a variety of settings including hospice, nursing homes, hospitals, and home health.
|Required Education||Typically a master's degree in related field|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||20% for all mental health counselors*|
|Annual Median Salary (2016)||$44,875 for bereavement coordinators**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
Job duties for this position include offering counseling, assessing needs, and explaining the services available to the bereaved. Additional job duties include organizing and scheduling support groups, creating bereavement materials, documenting bereavement services given to clients, and training new staff. According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary for a bereavement coordinator is $44,875 as of January 2016.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not include career outlook predictions for bereavement counselors specifically, but reports that all mental health counselors will see a 20% increase in jobs from 2014-2024.
Bereavement Coordinator Requirements
Employers typically expect a bereavement coordinator to have experience in hospice, counseling, or other areas dealing with grieving and bereavement, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Although there are no industry standards for education requirements in this career, bereavement coordinators typically need a master's degree in a related area, such as divinity, social work, theology, or thanatology.
A master's program in divinity is focused on ministry with core courses that focus on biblical studies, church leadership, pastoral counseling, and evangelism. Students who pursue training in a master's degree program in social work receive training in interpersonal communication, how to deal with bereavement, and sociology. Theological studies at the graduate level focus on bible studies, spirituality, and theology, providing students with a solid background in spiritual counseling. Some programs in these areas are designed specifically for those pursuing careers in bereavement counseling and education.
Bereavement coordinators have the option of getting a certificate or becoming certified in bereavement counseling. A certificate program gives concentrated training to a student on how to deal with bereavement and those dealing with death. This is helpful for students who have a degree in a field that is not specifically focused on bereavement services. The Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) offers the Certification in Thanatology (CT), which highlights relevant education, training, and work experience.
Those who possess a strong sense of empathy and who have experience in hospice or a related area may want to consider becoming a bereavement coordinator. Those interested in this career path should seek out a master's degree in social work, theology, divinity or a similar area. Certification programs are also available for additional training.