How to Become a Mortician

A mortician prepares the dead for burial, arranges funeral services, and communicates with a family to ensure their wishes are met.

Working as a mortician can be challenging, you will be interacting with people that are facing very difficult period of their life.

Ultimately, you also have the opportunity to carry out someone’s last wishes and also honor their life in a very meaningful way, a responsibility which can bring a sense of job satisfaction.

To become a mortician you will likely need to work out of a funeral home.

The job involves many tasks including communicating with families, arranging the transport of a body, housing it and preparing for a funeral, and also ensuring that the service and burial run smoothly.

Morticians also work within a limited time frame, which can mean work becomes high pressure during busy periods.

Education Requirements to Become a Mortician

The education requirements to become a mortician vary in each state.

While in some places you will only require a high school diploma and will learn on the job, in others you will require a two year associates degree, or a four year bachelors degree.

Even if not required in your state, completing a degree is a good idea.

It will give you a much broader knowledge base, and plenty of skills that you will use in your job.

While at high school and college, it’s a good idea to get some work experience in the industry.

Completing an internship is very valuable, if you get the opportunity.

After you complete your qualification, you will need to complete a two year apprenticeship or traineeship under the guidance of a mortician.

During this time you will learn on the job, and complete your professional training.

Mortician Job Description

If you decide to become a mortician you will provide a range of funeral services for a deceased person and their family.

A family member or hospital will usually contact a mortician, who will then arrange the transport of the body to the funeral home, or often they will pick it up themselves.

An initial meeting is usually help with the family of the deceased person.

The type of ceremony and burial they would like is discussed.

Aspects of the service such as music choice, religious aspects, or other preferences are discussed.

As this is a difficult time for the family, a good deal of tact, patience, and sympathy is required from the mortician.

The mortician will then organize both the funeral and burial service, and will prepare the body for burial as well as any viewings if required.

Mortician Salary and Career Path

Morticians usually start out by working under supervision for the first two years of their career.

Once fully qualified they may work in funeral homes, hospitals, morgues, or for religious organizations.

Some go on to open their own funeral homes.

Employment prospects are good in this field, firstly because of the aging population in many areas, and also because this is not a very competitive field to gain work in.

Some move on to own their own businesses, or work within different vocations of the same field.

Some may become autopsy technicians or morgue assistants.

In many places a mortician must undertake continuing education in order to be able to keep their license to practice.

This requirement varies from state to state.

The median salary for a funeral director is around $60,000 a year.

Those with a college degree will be able to earn more.

If you are interested in owning your own funeral home, you could have the ability to earn a six figure income.

Of course, with this comes the stress and risk of owning your own business.

Working as a mortician may seem like a challenging role from the outside, but those that work in the industry actually find it quite rewarding.

It is an honorable position to be in, both to assist families in their time of need, as well as carrying out the last wishes of deceased.

If you have excellent interpersonal skills, and a sympathetic nature, then this is likely a career in which you will excel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mortician?

A mortician is a professional who handles the details of funerals, burials, and cremations.

Morticians may work alone or may supervise a team of professionals.

Some morticians also handle the embalming process.

Morticians are responsible for transporting the body of the deceased to the mortuary where they or their staff prepares the body for burial.

They also have to handle the paperwork surrounding the death, including filing death certificates with the authorities and may also help family members prepare the funeral.

Morticians work with grieving people and they need compassion and good communication skills.

If you want to become a mortician you will also need time-management skills, attention to detail, leadership and business skills, especially if you’re managing your own funeral business.

This work can be stressful because morticians usually have to arrange the details of a funeral within 24 to 72 hours after death and may be responsible for planning and managing multiple funerals on the same day.

How much does a mortician make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors, was $52,650, in May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the mortician’s level of experience and region.

Some morticians earn less than $30,000 while others make more than $90,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become a mortician?

Morticians need at least an associate degree in mortuary science from an institution accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education.

These programs include courses in embalming, restorative techniques, grief counseling, funeral service, business law, and ethics.

Tuition costs vary widely depending on the school you choose but the average cost is around $20,000 a year.

After finishing mortuary school, morticians also need to complete a few years of training under the supervision of an experienced mortician.

What is the demand for morticians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors is projected to grow 3 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Job prospects should be good for those who are licensed as both funeral directors and embalmers and for those who are willing to relocate to underserved areas.

How long does it take to become a mortician?

Morticians need at least an associate’s degree in mortuary science and a few years of supervised experience.

Most employers require funeral service workers to be at least 21 years of age and to hold a state license.

Associate’s degree programs can usually be completed in around 2 years.

Prospective morticians also need between 1-3 years of hands-on training under the supervision of an experienced mortician; this apprenticeship period can be completed before, during or after finishing schooling.

Most states require morticians to be licensed; the licensure exam can be taken after finishing the training program and the apprenticeship period.

Those who perform cremations will also need a certificate from the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, the Cremation Association of North America or the National Funeral Directors Association.

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