How To Become A Funeral Director

Are you interested in learning how to become a funeral director? Whether you are just starting out in the work force or considering a career change, becoming a funeral director offers you the opportunity to perform a valuable and somewhat underappreciated service to residents in your community. The role of the funeral director, or mortician, is an important one, as many times the director is the main source of information (and potentially consolation) to families grieving the loss of a loved one. To become a funeral director, one must have certain basic skills (including a knack for organization balanced with professionalism and compassion) and, depending on the state where you'll work, a bachelor's degree in funeral services.

  1. Educational Requirements. If you are considering a career as a funeral director, you'll need to begin preparations early on. In high school, you might want to focus on business-related coursework, including classes in mathematics. If  you want to become a funeral director, you may also need to take courses in biology and chemistry. In college, you will first need to determine what specific paths are offered for potential funeral directors—some schools offer programs in mortuary science and funeral services. Classes may include anatomy, physiology, funeral home management and business law. You may also complete coursework in actual embalming techniques.
  2. Complete an Apprenticeship. In order to obtain the necessary license that will allow you to become a funeral director, you will need to complete an apprenticeship or internship. You will study under a licensed funeral director, learning the ins and outs of the job in all aspects. The length of your apprenticeship will vary from one to three years. Prospective funeral directors may be allowed to work as apprentices while they are still in school. Specific apprenticeship requirements varies between states, so be sure to learn the requirements for the state where you'll be working.
  3. Obtain a License. All US states require funeral directors/morticians to be licensed. As with apprenticeships, the specific license requirements may be different from state to state. Some states, for example, offer different licenses for funeral directors and embalmers. Basic requirements for a funeral director's license may include an educational background in mortuary science and the completion of an apprenticeship. As a prospective funeral director, you will also likely be required to take both a written and an oral exam. A physical demonstration of your skills may also be required.
  4. Get a Job. Once you have completed the necessary education and apprenticeship and obtained your license, it is time to send out resumes. Find area funeral homes and inquire with management about any potential openings. Have your resume handy and make sure it lists any and all experience you have in the field, including education and licensing you have obtained.


Funeral Directors

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