What Are Some Jobs in Funeral Services?
Are you interested in helping families lay their loved ones to rest? If so, a career in funeral services may be right for you. Keep reading to find out more about jobs in this field. Schools offering Culinary Arts 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 posthumously preparing the deceased's body, organizing funeral services and managing funeral homes. You also would deal directly with families to orchestrate wakes, burials, memorials and obituaries.
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.
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 2008 and 2018, the number of funeral director jobs was forecast to grow by 12% (www.bls.gov). Employment prospects were expected to be good for funeral directors 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 2009, $54,370 was the median annual wage of funeral directors, according to the BLS.
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