What Is Funeral Service Technology?

Funeral service professionals attend to the deceased and the needs of grieving family members and friends. To learn more about this field, including education requirements and career info, read on. Schools offering Funeral Service Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Defined

Funeral service technology involves properly taking care of the deceased. This includes special tools and procedures, like embalming and cremating. In addition to the practical and scientific aspects of funeral service technology, there are a lot of administrative and communication duties that have to be performed, like helping with death certificates and consoling family members during the grieving process.

Important Facts About Funeral Service Technology

Similar Occupations Human Resources Manager, Social Worker, Psychologist
Key Skills Compassion, time-management, and interpersonal skills
Work Environment Typically in the funeral home office, places of worship, or in a cemetery
Required Education A minimum of an associate's degree in mortuary science

Career Opportunities

In funeral service technology, you can work as a funeral director, undertaker, or mortician. All of these careers have essentially the same responsibilities. You're charged with helping to set up and manage the preparation of a deceased body, handling the final disposition of the dead, and setting up memorial services.

Depending on the religion of the deceased, you'll make arrangements to hold the ceremony in a special location and have the appropriate clergy on hand to perform the necessary rituals for mourning services. You'll arrange transportation if needed for family members.

The entire deceased body is taken care of by you. In some cases, you'll cremate the body and place the ashes in an urn. In others, you'll help embalm the body in order to ensure that it is properly preserved for burial. This includes washing the body, replacing the blood with embalming fluid, and reconstructing parts of the body with clay, plaster, or wax.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors earned a median annual income of $52,650 in May 2018. The top ten percent of such funeral service workers made upwards of $89,050 annually the same year. The top-paying industry was the federal executive branch; however, it should be noted that this industry employed only a small amount of funeral directors.

The BLS reported that employment growth for funeral service occupations from 2016-2026 was expected to be 5%, which is about as fast as average. Funeral directors familiar with and practicing embalming were expected to see the best job prospects. According to the BLS, job growth expectations were a result of an aging population.

Education and Licensure

Educational programs for funeral service technology last two to four years, resulting in either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. Programs include both classroom instruction and lab experiences. Coursework includes classes on funeral directing, restorative art, business management, computer applications, client services, ethics, embalming techniques, pathology, and mortuary anatomy. Additionally, many programs cover legal and psychological coursework.

Apprenticeships are typically required before becoming a funeral director. This work experience lasts one to three years under normal circumstances. You are required to obtain a state license before you can work as a funeral director. The laws depend on the state in which you work, but you generally need to meet education and apprenticeship requirements before taking a licensure exam.

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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Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

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  • 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

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    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

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    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • San Antonio College

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    • Texas: San Antonio
  • University of Pennsylvania

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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia