What Degree Do You Need to Be a Funeral Director?

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What Degree Do You Need to Be a Funeral Director?

Funeral directors, often known as morticians, offer a wide range of services to the bereaved and their families. Clients and funeral directors collaborate to plan the greatest possible service for their loved ones when they pass away. If you want to work as a funeral director, it’s a good idea to learn more about what they do and how to become one before you get started. This page explains what a funeral director does and how to become one, as well as provides answers to frequently asked questions.

What Is the Role of a Funeral Director? 

Funeral directors, often known as morticians, are specialists that assist the deceased’s family members with all elements of funeral planning. A funeral director’s responsibilities include the following: 

* Creating obituary notices
* Working with the deceased’s family to plan the logistics and specifics of the funeral according to their requests 
* Choosing the site, dates, and times for funerals, wakes, and memorial services 
* Providing transportation for the deceased, their families, and flowers
* Setting up and decorating each service location 
* Supervising the preparation and transportation of remains for internment outside of the state

What Are the Steps to Becoming a Funeral Director? 

The education and licensing requirements for funeral directors differ per state. Most states require:

* A high school diploma or comparable GED
* An Associate Degree in Funeral Service Education from a recognized program (often a Bachelor’s Degree). 
* A passing score on the national board examination and/or state licensing examination
* An apprenticeship that normally lasts one to three years 

Before you may work as a funeral director, you must meet a few prerequisites. The following are the most frequent steps to becoming a licensed funeral director:

Earn a Two-Year Associate’s Degree 

You must meet the minimum educational requirements and earn an associate’s degree before you can work as a funeral director. Because many jurisdictions require accreditation before you can get licensed, the school you choose should be accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). The ABFSE has accredited 60 mortuary science programs from which to choose. 

Professional ethics, microbiology, chemistry, pathology, embalming, mortuary law, anatomy, federal regulations, grief counseling, and funeral service psychology are all required courses in mortuary science education. You’ll discover how to:

* Work with hazardous chemicals and contagious body tissues while following safety protocols
* Dissect cadavers 
* Restore and present a damaged corpse
* Use embalming chemicals 
* Work with hazardous chemicals and infectious body tissues while following safety measures 

Depending on the degree you choose, most programs take two to four years to finish. If they plan to operate their mortuary in the future, some aspiring funeral directors may choose to pursue business courses. 

In high school, you can begin preparing for a career as a funeral director by completing public speaking, biology, and chemistry classes. Students can gain experience by working part-time or over the summer at several mortuaries.

Complete a Training Program 

The ABFSE requires you to undergo an apprenticeship that might take anywhere from one to three years after you complete your academic study in mortuary science. You may be able to complete the apprenticeship before, during, or after your formal schooling, depending on your timetable and the state requirements where you live. You can only execute responsibilities as an apprentice at a mortuary under the direct supervision of an experienced mortician. This will provide you with the practical experience you’ll need to land a job as a funeral director. 

* For Intermediate Apprenticeships, some GCSEs with English and Maths or equivalent are required. 

 *5 GCSEs, including Maths and English, at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent for Advanced Apprenticeship.

Funeral Service Diploma 

This course is available to you if you have completed the BIFD certificate in funeral service. There are five modules to choose from. Each group has a different number of units, and as you finish each one, a tutor will evaluate you. The final exam comprises a written paper (2.5 hours) and an oral exam with an examiner on how to plan a funeral (1.5 hours). There is also a review of how to conduct a funeral. 

To earn the diploma, you must score at least 60% on each component of the final examination.


The most practical way to get started in this field is to enroll in a funeral service awareness training program. The certificate in funeral service is offered by the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD). Typically, the training program lasts one to three years. 

The following are the program’s training areas: 

* Grief Stages Grief Counseling Funeral Ceremonies

Take an Online Course 

There are several online courses available to help you become a funeral director. 

They will also evaluate your ability. The examination is administered via online learning tools. You will receive the results of your test immediately after it has been completed. 

Additionally, you can take your lessons while sitting on your warm and comfortable couch and receive certification! 

Obtain a State-Issued License 

After completing your apprenticeship and obtaining a two-year degree, you must pass a state licensing examination to become a funeral director. By the time their examination day arrives, prospective funeral directors must be at least 21 years old. Psychology, funeral service merchandising, business law, funeral service history, microbiology, pathology, restorative arts, embalming, and anatomy are among the topics included in the exam. Depending on the state you live in, the funeral director and embalming licenses may be issued independently. 

Keep Your Resume Up to Date

It’s critical to update your resume once you’ve obtained your funeral director’s license. You may include relevant work experiences, such as hands-on knowledge gained during an apprenticeship or internship. Include your highest degree of education as well as any professional references. If you got along well with the mortician with whom you finished your apprenticeship, you could ask them for a letter of recommendation to help you get hired.

Keep Your License

To keep your funeral director’s license, your state may require you to participate in continuing education programs. You can continue your education either online or on-site. For distance learning, you can complete online coursework, attend webinars, or join teleconferences. Seminars, workshops, and professional development programs are common forms of on-site learning. You can also choose to become a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) through the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice to set yourself apart in the funeral service sector. This ongoing education will keep you informed about funeral service rules, as well as industry developments and advancements.

Personal Characteristics

 Many important personal qualities are required of funeral directors, including sensitivity, calm, and the ability to engage comfortably and communicate effectively with the general public. Most significantly, funeral directors should want and be able to provide adequate comfort to people during times of sadness.

How Many Hours Does a Funeral Director Work Every Week? 

However, the work schedule is a little exhausting! 

You may be required to work roughly 39 hours each week as a funeral director. The weekly range could be anywhere from 41 to 43 hours. You must, however, be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The work could be done on a rota system with varying hours. There is also the option of working part-time. You must keep in mind that as a funeral director, you will never have two days that are alike! You’ll change your headgear every day. 

Before You Become a Funeral Director, Here’s What You Should Know 

  • Our life’s saddest and most unexpected event is the funeral. 
  • Before you do anything else, you should be aware that this is a physically demanding profession. You must always get up and go to set up everything. You may need to get up at the witching hour to complete your tasks. These disrupt your sleep and, on their own, can result in physical sickness. 
  • It’s also draining emotionally. You have to view dead bodies daily, as well as the grieving of their loved ones. You have to deal with deaths that aren’t natural. You will occasionally bury the resting souls of small children, resulting in a mental breakdown. 
  • This field isn’t devoid of humor, either! When individuals discuss the dead souls and their amusing pastimes, humorous scenarios can develop.
  • Do you feel at ease in a room full of bereaved people? If not, this is not the professional path for you. You can’t help but cry when situations become that upsetting and moving! However, I feel you are strong enough to deal with such tenderness. You must have a solid foundation in mortuary science as well as business management.
  • The history of funeral services, merchandising, and embalming chemistry will all be covered. In addition, you will learn about management, pathology, and restorative art courses. 
  • Embalming is a science and an art. You have control over how someone will appear when they say their goodbyes. You must make them appear as natural and calm as possible. 
  • If a family wants, you must remove wounds or tumors if a person dies with them. Wax can be used to make the skin smooth.
  • And then there are the job schedules! They’ll be even more pitiful because there are no set hours. Death and birth, after all, aren’t constrained by the 9 to 5 rule! People will occasionally vent their frustrations on you. 
  • Many individuals associate sadness with becoming enraged by the entire shooting match. Your family will go completely insane over how long something takes and how much money it costs to die. As a result of the death of a loved one, some people will become insane. 
  • You have to spend a lot of time with the deceased. It will undoubtedly alter your perspective on your impending death. Some funeral directors claim that their employer allows them to become more comfortable with death.

What Are Some of the Aspects of the Work Environment of a Funeral Director? 

Funeral directors usually operate in a funeral home or a crematory. Traveling to and from funeral ceremonies, which are usually held in a place of worship, is one of the many parts of their duties. Funeral directors spend a lot of time standing and using a computer. Working conditions Your work environment will always be gloomy and shady, regardless of whether the weather is sunny or snowy. You’ll be there to make people’s last journeys as lovely as possible. You’ll wish them a peaceful exit and bid them farewell. You could work in a cemetery, a funeral home, or at the home of a customer. But most of the time, your work will be outdoor.

Career Advancements

You won’t confine your career to funeral director only. Will you? 

With larger organizations, you will be promoted to branch, area, or regional management with the advancement of time. Moreover, with much work experience and qualifications, you can become a teacher and teach NAFD qualifications.

After some experience, you can also move into self-employment and start your own funeral service company. See, lots of options are available out there! 

Progression in Your Career 

You’re not going to limit yourself to being a funeral director. Will you join us? 

With the advancement of time, you will be promoted to branch, area, or regional management in larger organizations. You can also become a teacher and teach NAFD credentials if you have a lot of job experience and qualifications. After gaining some expertise, you can go into business for yourself and start your funeral service. There are a lot of possibilities out there, as you can see! 

Are our funeral directors well compensated? For a job holder, this is undoubtedly the most eagerly anticipated aspect! Don’t you think I’m right? 

The salary range varies depending on the work experience. The United Kingdom (UK): 

  • As a funeral director, you can expect to earn £19,600 a year on average. 
  • Starting pay could range from £14,000 to £20,000.
  • Funeral directors with training and experience can expect to earn roughly £25,000 per year. The income might rise to £30,000 or more with additional bonuses and overtime responsibilities.

Salary Average 

Funeral directors are typically employed full-time and work long days, including nights and weekends, with many being on call. A funeral director’s average compensation varies depending on their amount of education, relevant work experience, and geographic area.

* The average salary in the United States is $54,140 per year. 
* Salaries can range from $48,000 to $72,000 per year.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

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