How to Become a Mortician

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Funerals are very important practices that vary greatly among people depending on their religion and culture. However, majority of funerals typically share the common goal of honoring people when they pass on. Licensed professionals are required to perform the necessary duties with preparing the deceased for the funeral. Morticians are the professionals that complete these tasks.


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What does a mortician do?

Morticians (also called undertakers) are involved in the funeral rites business. They remove the deceased and transport them to the mortuary, prepare the remains through embalming or cremation, plan and arrange the ceremony, and place the deceased at the final resting place. The undertakers arrange all of the details and planning of funeral services by talking to the family to understand their needs and wishes about the service. Morticians and family members choose the dates, times, and locations of memorial services, wakes, and burials. They provide as much comfort as possible to the family and friends and arrange for a hearse to transport the deceased to the mortuary or funeral home. Morticians also often prepare obituary notices and other necessary paperwork.

What kind of training does a mortician need?

Morticians usually have formal education in mortuary science. Some community and junior colleges offer 2-year programs and some colleges and universities offer 2-year and 4-year programs. Coursework usually includes anatomy, physiology, business management, pathology, accounting, client services, restorative art, and embalming techniques. The programs also include courses on legal subjects and the social sciences. Many morticians complete continuing education programs offered by many state and national associations.

Some states require morticians to complete apprenticeships under the direction of an experience and licensed mortician. All states require morticians to be licensed. The laws vary by state, but most require candidates to be at least 21 years of age, complete a minimum of 2 years formal education in mortuary science, complete a 1 year apprenticeship, and pass a written examination. Some states require undertakers to be licensed in embalming.

What are the prospects for a career as a mortician?

Employment of morticians is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 12% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase in the death care services industry will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for morticians who are trained to perform embalming. Job opportunities will also occur from the need to replace morticians who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do morticians make?

As of September 2009, the middle 50% of morticians earned annual salaries between $44,091 and $72,749. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $89,094 (2).

A career as a mortician is a great choice for individuals interested in mortuary science and caring for the deceased. Morticians must have tact, composure, dedication, sympathy, compassion, and excellent communication. They must be emotionally stable and be able to provide comfort to people who are mourning.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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