How Can I Get a Funeral Director's License?

Being a funeral director requires maintaining professional standards and complying with legal regulations. Every state has laws regulating funeral directors, which include licensing. Obtaining a funeral director's license is a multi-step process that includes meeting education and training requirements and passing board exams. Schools offering Funeral Service Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Funeral Director's License Requirements Overview

In every state except Colorado, funeral directors must be licensed, which means you must meet the requirements set by the state in which you wish to work. While such requirements vary, they typically include being a minimum age, meeting education standards, having the proper training and passing a licensing exam. Typically, applying for licensure also requires U.S. citizenship. Some states might require additional prerequisites, such as passing a test on communicable diseases.

Important Facts About Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors

Median Salary (2018) $52,650 (all morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors)
Entry-level Education Associate's degree
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% (all morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors)
Work Environment Homes, houses of worship, funeral homes, gravesites or crematories

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Most funeral service or mortuary science programs lead to an associate's degree, although there are a few bachelor's degree programs. You should enroll in a program that has been accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) to ensure proper training. These programs introduce you to science topics pertinent to funeral directors, including microbiology and anatomy. You also learn embalming and restorative arts techniques. In addition to science courses, the program includes courses in business and funeral service laws and ethics, management principles and accounting; in psychology classes, you study grief and death counseling.

Apprenticeship Requirements

Practical training and experience from an apprenticeship is usually part of state requirements. Either form of training must be done under the supervision of a licensed funeral director. In most instances, you're required to have earned a funeral service or mortuary science degree before entering an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships typically last one year and usually involve completing a minimum number of funeral services or cases. Most commonly, 25 cases must be completed during the span of the apprenticeship.

Licensing Examination

There is a national exam available through the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining. Some states' exams may also be administered through the Conference. Exams usually cover two broad areas of funeral service: arts and sciences. The arts section covers law, psychology, business, accounting and management. Microbiology, restorative arts, chemistry and anatomy are tested in the science section. Funeral directors generally must complete continuing education courses to maintain their licenses.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Louis Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Missouri: Saint Louis
  • Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science Inc

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh
  • Ogeechee Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Statesboro
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Kirkland
  • John A Gupton College

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Nashville
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • San Antonio College

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: San Antonio
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge