Professional information


The human taxidermist finds his tasks in the fields of anatomy, pathology and forensic medicine.

In anatomy, the scope of duties includes preserving cadavers, making anatomical preparations for demonstration and research purposes and supervising dissection courses for students. Design skills are particularly important in the anatomy department.

In pathology and forensic medicine, the preparator assists the doctors during autopsies. In addition to carrying out particularly elaborate and technically challenging preparations, he or she is also responsible in particular for the professional reconstruction of the cadaver. Here, too, permanent preparations can be made for scientific studies, teaching purposes and documentation.

For these activities, the taxidermist generally needs both anatomical knowledge and extensive knowledge of conservation techniques and manual dexterity. A high level of confidentiality is required in all specialist areas of human taxidermy.



Federally approved examination regulations of 4.7.2011.

Examination preparations

The qualifications required for the examination are usually acquired autodidactically. The examination regulations and guidelines are available from the Association of Swiss Human Taxidermists VSHP.

Educational offers

The practical and theoretical training takes place at the institute where the human preparator is employed.


3 years, at 100% employment

Audited subjects

  • Autopsy and preparation (e.g. receipt of a corpse, preservation of individual organs)
  • Professional skills (e.g. apparatus / instrument maintenance)
  • chemical knowledge (e.g. solutions for preparation purposes)
  • Commercial matters / computer skills (e.g. mortuary bookkeeping, statistics)
  • Legal knowledge / accident prevention (e.g. health law, duty to report, duty of confidentiality)
  • General technical knowledge (e.g. anatomy, physiology, coffining)
  • Depending on the subject area of the examined person's place of work (anatomy, pathology or forensic medicine), the examination material may vary.


"Human taxidermist with federal certificate of proficiency"


Required at the start of the examination:

  • Completion of at least 3 years of basic vocational training or equivalent qualification
  • At least 3 years' experience as a human taxidermist in Switzerland, with a 100% workload
  • Proof of at least 150 autopsies performed or 150 injected course bodies in anatomy
  • At least 2 weeks of practical training in an external company in cooperation with a taxidermist with federal certificate of competence


Offers of the Association of Swiss. Human Taxidermists VSHP, the Association of German Taxidermists VDP and other foreign associations as well as institutes in Switzerland and abroad.

Further training in the three specialist areas of anatomy, pathology and forensic medicine is largely self-studied.

Professional relations

Approximately 70 human taxidermists work in Swiss institutes. The demand is tending to decrease. There are only a few training places and jobs. Depending on the place of work, working hours can be irregular or require weekend and holiday work.

Trained specialists also take on management tasks and train employees who report to them.

The profession requires a very precise way of working, dexterous hands, mental and physical resilience as well as discretion.


The exam

The profession of "human taxidermist" is not an everyday one and it often takes patience, stamina and sometimes a little luck to get a training place and finally the diploma. We would like to help aspiring human taxidermists and provide them with important information.