Mortuary Science Schools Resource Center
Welcome to The Mortician Guide! We will help you find the most updated information on mortuary science schools and how to become a mortician in your state. The median salary of a mortician or funeral director is nearly $50,000 with the top tier earning close to $100,000, which is pretty good relative to other professions with similar education requirements. Since every state has different requirements for licensing, it is important to review every mortician school in your area as well as the relevant license requirements. Some states don’t have accredited mortuary science schools and some states don’t even have licensing requirements! You can also visit each state’s page on the left sidebar to get started.
Our site offers great resources to help you prepare for your career as a mortician. For those who are relatively new to the industry, morticians (aka funeral directors) are people who help organize and coordinate funerals. This includes preparing the body through the process of embalming or cremation, making sure everything goes smoothly in the funeral, providing emotional support for the family and friends of the deceased, and handling paperwork. You can learn more about what a mortician does in the job description section and follow a typical day as a funeral director. You can find important salary information as well as additional information such as the history of the funeral services industry, pros and cons of working as a mortician, what to expect in your educational process, and interviews. After you’ve done your background research and decided you want to further pursue this career path, check out our career section and see a step by step guide on how to become a mortician. Also, if you haven’t already done so, please check out the list of accredited mortuary science schools in your state and find out more information on the licensing criteria in your area. Be sure to check out the definitions page if you feel confused about certain terms.
The annual salary of a funeral director varies depending on experience, geography, whether you practice in a rural or urban setting, and whether or not you own your own funeral home. According to the BLS, on average morticians make $50,000 per year and you should expect to earn $20,000-$30,000 when you first start. The top morticians can earn $100,000 or more. If you specialize as an embalmer or start your own funeral home, there’s potential for even more income. Overall, the outlook for the funeral services industry looks very positive. Rest assured there will always be a demand for morticians as the service cannot be entirely replaced by computer and the death rate increases as more of the population ages. Additionally, there are more funeral directors who are over 55 compared to other professions, so they will need to be replaced in the foreseeable future.
How to Become a Mortician
The process of how to become a mortician varies by state. Generally, you need a high school diploma, one or two years of college education at any of the 58 mortuary science schools accredited by the ABFSE (American Board of Funeral Service Education), one or two years as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed mortician, and then pass a licensing exam. Most schools offer online courses, but hands on courses such as labs must be completed on campus. Some states and schools will even let you do your internship while in school, saving you valuable time and expediting the license process.
Choosing Mortuary Science Schools
Prep work for getting into mortuary science schools can be started as early as high school, where you can take core science courses such as biology or chemistry in order to build a strong background to help you understand the embalming process. When choosing the right mortician school to attend, you have to first think about where you think you’ll eventually end up practicing. Since state requirements are wildly different, this is very important to nail this down first. For example, in Colorado there are NO license requirements, so theoretically anybody can just become a mortician without any educational background. Of course in the real world, this is likely not the case since funeral homes would still like to see some apprenticeship experience on your resume. When looking at mortuary science schools, be sure to compare the in-state costs (average of $11,780 for 60 credit hours) with the out of state costs (average of $20,693 for 60 credit hours). You might want to take some courses online as well to save money. Each mortician school also publishes their license exam pass rate, which is another important consideration when choosing a school. See the list of accredited mortuary science schools for a comparison of the exam pass rates averaged out over the past three years (average of 77% pass rate overall).
Funeral Homes and Different Job Roles
A typical funeral home consists of the following employees: funeral home manager, mortician, mortician assistant, specialized embalmer, cosmetic assistant, accounting, finance, and marketing, law, and administrative positions. Funeral homes are either family run or part of a chain (SCI, Newcomer). The job responsibilities vary according to business type and by location. In a family office in a rural area, you will have a small amount of cases, so as a mortician you may be responsible for a bit of everything. In an urban chain setting which typically handles more volume and is more regulated, each position is specialized. In this case, the mortician will only be responsible for coordinating the funeral and a separate embalmer (contractor or in-house) will be hired to handle the body.