Funeral Services

Read on to learn more about the careers and requirements needed to enter the funeral services industry. See the salary ranges for the various career paths, training requirements and employment prospects.

Is a Career in Funeral Services for Me?

Career Overview

Funeral service workers handle all aspects of funeral services, wakes and memorials. As a funeral worker, you should be compassionate and have good communication skills, as you will often work with grieving families.

The funeral service industry offers several job titles and careers. Funeral attendants handle basic tasks, such as setting up caskets and assisting mourners. Funeral directors and undertakers perform more skilled duties, including preparing dead bodies and coordinating funeral services. If you take a position as an undertaker or funeral director, you may work irregular hours, since bodies might need to be removed at any hour of the day. You might also become the manager of a funeral home and be responsible for financial decisions and business operations.

Salaries and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that job opportunities in funeral services are projected to increase by 12% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Funeral attendants made a median annual income of $22,610 in 2012, as reported by the BLS. Funeral directors, undertakers and morticians earned a median annual income of $46,840. Managers received $66,720 in median yearly pay.

How Can I Work in Funeral Services?

Education Programs

Education requirements for funeral service workers vary. To do the basic tasks required of a funeral attendant, you usually only need a high school diploma. To become a funeral director, you generally need at least an associate degree, along with experience in funeral services. If you want to complete a formal education program to eventually work as a funeral director or undertaker, a degree in mortuary science is a good choice.

An associate degree in mortuary science trains you to interact with grieving families and teaches you the laws and regulations of the state you plan to work in. A bachelor's degree program in mortuary science will include funeral service course options in anatomy, embalming, cremation and funeral merchandising.

Licensing

All funeral service directors need to be licensed in the state they work in. You can normally obtain a funeral director license by completing two years of formal training, taking part in a one-year apprenticeship and passing the state exam. Some states require you to be licensed in embalming as well, so it is a good idea to explore licensing requirements in your particular state.

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