Cemetery Worker

Job Description:

Cemetery workers prepare and maintain graves, memorial sites and gardens.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

In this job, you’ll:

  • measure and mark out grave spaces
  • dig and prepare graves with a mechanical excavator or hand tools
  • maintain lawns, verges and plants around the cemetery
  • keep pathways clear, empty bins and remove litter
  • check headstones for damage and remove those that are unsafe
  • keep work records up to date


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a cemetery worker, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a general education with a focus on practical skills, physical fitness, and a basic understanding of horticulture or landscaping can be beneficial. Here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Physical Education (PE): Cemetery workers often engage in physically demanding tasks, such as digging graves and maintaining grounds. Being physically fit and having stamina can be important.
  2. Design and Technology: Courses related to design and technology can provide hands-on experience and knowledge in areas like landscaping, equipment operation, and maintenance.
  3. Biology or Environmental Science: Basic knowledge of plant care, horticulture, and grounds maintenance can be beneficial for tasks like planting and caring for trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  4. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be useful for measurements, calculations related to grave sites, and record-keeping.
  5. English Language: Effective communication skills, including reading and understanding instructions, are important for tasks like following burial plans and safety guidelines.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do an intermediate apprenticeship for horticulture and landscape operatives.

Direct Application
You can apply directly for a job as a cemetery worker, if you’ve got some of the skills needed for this role. For example, you must be able to deal sensitively with bereaved people.

Experience in landscaping, gardening, construction or use of a mechanical mini digger can be useful.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 41 to 43 hours a week, occasionally including weekends.

You could work at a cemetery.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a team supervisor. You could also train to work in cemetery, crematorium and natural burial management.

You could use your skills to move into other careers like landscaping, gardening or horticulture.