Be a Grave Digger

By Eric Hammer

GraveFlickr Photo by Maxwell Hamilton

One of the oddest jobs around is the job of grave digger. That's because this job is considered by many to be one of the lowliest jobs on the planet - after all, what's to know? You just have to have the strength to wield a shovel. However, what is interesting is that in spite of the fact that a grave digger is considered by many to be a lowly profession, it's actually a pretty well paid job. Here's what you need to know:

The nice thing about becoming a grave digger is that you'll pretty much always have work. After all, people don't stop dying, even when the economy is terrible. Also, unlike the mortician, who occasionally must compete with graveside funerals (where a funeral director isn't always used), the grave digger will always be in demand.

The work is also not particularly difficult as most modern grave diggers don't rely on a shovel to do their jobs. Instead, they simply dig using a tractor and will only need to get inside the grave to smooth out the edges and line it with concrete (if that is requested by the family - some people don't want this done). This means that you don't need extensive training in order to land this kind of a job.

How Much Can You Make?

Grave diggers make an average of between $18,000-$35,000 per year according to the US Department of Labor. While that income is hardly phenomenal, it is significantly over minimum wage for a job which doesn't require very much skill.

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Keep in mind that a grave digger's job is to have the funeral plot ready and waiting long before the family shows up for the burial. You should have the plot neatly dug out and the dirt arranged in a neat pile waiting to be shoveled back into place once the relatives and friends have left the area.

You will generally not be handling dead bodies, nor will you ever be likely to see them as caskets will be closed when you cover them up. Some grave diggers also make extra money by working with crime investigators who have ordered a body exhumed. This means that you dig up a previously dug grave. In this case, a bit more skill is required because you want to make sure that the casket isn't destroyed by your heavy equipment.

Qualifications / Requirements

In most cases, there are no formal requirements to become a grave digger. However, you do need to get a license for operating heavy equipment in your state as most grave diggers today do work with such equipment rather than digging graves exclusively with shovels.

First Steps

Start by contacting local cemeteries to ask if they have work available as a grave digger. Ask questions about their requirements and be sure to obtain all necessary licensure before you arrive for an interview.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about becoming a grave digger:

eHow: How to Become a Grave Digger - A guide with a few basic ideas to help you along in finding work as a grave digger.

Inside Jobs: Grave Digger - A basic guide to becoming a grave digger.

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Every Way to Make Money | Be a Grave Digger