What Are Some Jobs in Funeral Services?

Find out what careers you can pursue in the field of funeral services. Learn about the education, training and licensing that is required for jobs like mortician and embalmer, and see projections for job growth and salary. Schools offering Funeral Service Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are There in Funeral Services?

The most common career path taken in the funeral services industry is to become a mortician, also called a funeral director, which combines scientific work with business, management and grief counseling. As a mortician, you would handle multiple responsibilities, such as preparing the deceased's body, organizing funeral services and managing funeral homes. Morticians may additionally train junior staff and handle all legal documentation related to the deceased. You also would deal directly with families to orchestrate wakes, burials, memorials and obituaries. Some funeral service workers focus more on planning the event while others handle the body.

Other funeral services positions you might consider include embalmer or sales counselor. Although embalming is usually a task left to morticians, some funeral homes offer exclusive embalming positions. Many funeral homes also have sales personnel if you're exclusively interested in the business side of funeral services. In a sales position, you might meet with potential clients to pre-sell funerals, in addition to offering funeral packages to families who've recently experienced a death. Below, the table provides some important information about careers in this industry:

Funeral Service ManagersFuneral Directors (Morticians)
Degree Required Associate'sAssociate's
Education Field of Study Mortuary Science, BusinessMortuary Science
Key Responsibilities Managing staff, financial planning, overseeing operations of the funeral homePreparing the bodies of the deceased, organizing funerals, managing the funeral home, communicate with families regarding funeral and burial details
Licensure Requirements Not requiredMust seek licensure in the state you work
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5%3%
Median Salary (2018)* $79,180$52,650

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need?

The education you need to work in funeral services varies by the position you're seeking and the company that's hiring. A career in sales, for example, may not require formal education beyond a high school diploma, but it may call for a significant amount of experience. However, if you intend to be an embalmer, your education will follow that of an aspiring funeral director.

You'll need to earn either an associate's or bachelor's degree in mortuary science to become a mortician or embalmer. Both programs help qualify you to take state licensing exams, but associate's degree programs are more commonly available. Your program likely will be a mix of in-class work and hands-on experience in the field. Topics you may cover include human anatomy, embalming, funeral practices, pathology, restorative art, marketing and counseling.

What are the Licensing Requirements?

To work as a funeral director or embalmer, you'll need to be licensed by the state you're employed in. Some states will require you to earn both an embalmer's license and a director's license, while others will address both embalming and directing with one accreditation. Requirements vary by state, but they usually include a 2- or 4-year degree in mortuary science, a year of experience and an exam. Additionally, you'll need to be at least 21 years old.

What is the Job Market Like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that, between 2018 and 2028, the number of funeral service jobs was forecast to grow by 4% (www.bls.gov). Employment prospects were expected to be good for funeral workers who also embalm, so you may want to consider earning both a director's and an embalmer's license. Your advancement opportunities may be better in a company that oversees several funeral homes. As of May 2018, $52,650 was the median annual wage of funeral directors, according to the BLS.

What are some Related Alternative Careers?

Administrative services managers run supportive services of a company or organization by maintaining facilities and supervising activities. Marketing managers create interest in products or services through specifically designed programs. Finally, human resources managers oversee the hiring of new staff and are the bridge between a company's management and its employees. All of these jobs require bachelor degrees.

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:

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  • Saint Louis Community College

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