How To Become A Mortician

Morticians, or funeral directors, are a necessary job field. As a mortician, you will assist with the death of a person. You will provide services such as preparing bodies, finding a funeral home, and providing grief counseling. Morticians end up in their positions through a combination of apprenticeship and education. All morticians must be licensed in their state in order to work.

Why Become A Mortician

The death of a family member can be tragic. There are a lot of very powerful feelings involved, including shock, anger, sadness, and regret. On top of this, family members are expected to plan a funeral, which includes preparing the body for the ceremony, finding a funeral home and an officiant for the funeral, and arranging for the disposal of the remains. Funerals must be arranged quickly after a person dies, and this can be a stressful situation.

A mortician, also known as a funeral director, assists with the death of a person and arranging a funeral. They help comfort and give counseling to the friends and families of the recently deceased. They help people decide between cremation or burial of the remains. They arrange for transportation of the body between sites. They also fill out necessary paperwork, such as death certificates, and help families with other administrative tasks, such as applying for social security benefits or life insurance claims. Death is very personal, and a mortician must listen to the family and understand their specific wants and needs.

This is a good career choice for somebody who is interested in death and dying, who is able to remain calm in a stressful situation, somebody who wants to help families in difficult circumstances, and is organized and can arrange events for families.

Morticians should possess the following qualities and skills:

Mortician Work Environment

Morticians may work in funeral homes, cemeteries, churches, temples, mosques or other houses of worship. A mortician may work in a funeral home that is owned privately, or they may decide to open up their own business: in 2014, approximately half of all morticians were self-employed. Some morticians may also work inside of crematories. Because funeral arrangements must be made within a couple days following the death of a person, this line of work is fast-paced. It is often stressful, and the mood inside of a funeral home can be a mix of different emotions, as people are at many points in the grieving process.

Mortician Salary

The median annual wage for morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors was $48,490 in May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are many factors that affect the salary of an occupation. A person may choose to be employed at a funeral home or a cemetery, or to open up their own business. This can affect how much money they may make. The number of years of experience a person has may also affect their salary.

Average Mortician Annual Salary


The average annual salary for morticians is $56,300 a year. Salaries start at $29,260 a year and go up to $85,060 a year.

Average Mortician Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a mortician is $27.07. Hourly wages are between $14.07 and $40.90 an hour.

Stats were based out of 25,460 employed morticians in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Morticians

Top Paying Cities For Morticians

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Mortician Career Outlook

Employment for morticians is expected to grow by seven percent from 2014 to 2024, which is about the same as all other occupations.

Demand for morticians will remain steady from deaths in our aging populations. Morticians and funeral directors will be needed to handle the final arrangements of the deaths of loved ones.

Mortician Degree

A mortician requires several years of training as well as licensure. Read below to learn how to become a mortician in your state.

Step 1: Undergraduate education. There are many schools that offer programs for those that are interested in becoming morticians. Programs include mortuary science, funeral studies, and embalming, to name a few. Enroll in a university or program near you. These universities will give you a foundation in what it is like to have a career in this field. Classes generally include ethics, biology, psychology, counseling, and laws and regulations.

Step 2: Become an apprentice. Find a funeral home, cemetery, or house of worship near you. Ask them to bring you in as an apprentice so that you can learn how to become a mortician or funeral director. The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) requires three years of apprenticeship before somebody can become licensed. During these years, you can work alongside other morticians. This is a great way to learn if this field is the right one for you. It is also a good way to form friendships and make connections, and possibly network your way into a job position in the field.

Step 3: Get licensed. All morticians must be licensed in the state where they work. The requirements to become a mortician are to be at least 21 years old, have completed an apprenticeship, and to complete a university mortuary science degree program. Upon completion of these requirements, the person must then take a state licensing examination. Successful completion of this board exam will allow the person to be certified as a mortician.

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