Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Morticians are often known as funeral directors or undertakers. Their wide-ranging duties include planning funerals, completing legal paperwork and preparing the body of the deceased. Although the requirements for a mortician job vary by state, all morticians must have a high school diploma. Most states also require postsecondary education, an apprenticeship and licensing. The preparation time varies, but it typically takes three to four years to become a mortician.
Types of Mortician Degree Programs
Some states require only a high school diploma or one year of mortuary school, but most states require an associate degree in mortuary science. Ohio and Minnesota require a bachelor's degree. The American Board of Funeral Service Education accredits mortuary programs and provides a list on its website.
Community colleges offer the most mortuary programs, but some four-year colleges and many mortuary schools also offer the major. The cost of mortician education depends largely on the length of the program and the type of school, such as public or private.
Degree Program Duration
An associate degree in mortuary science usually takes two years, and includes approximately 70 semester credits, including business, mortuary management, funeral counseling and embalming theory. Some programs include a practicum in the required curriculum.
A typical bachelor's program takes four years and requires approximately 120 credits. In addition to the classes in a two-year program, bachelor's degree requirements may include biology, psychology, anatomy and embalming chemistry.
Choosing an Internship or Practicum
Most states require one to two years of apprenticeship under a licensed funeral director before granting a license. In states where the internship follows an associate degree, the total training time is typically three to four years. Kentucky, which doesn't require mortuary college, requires three years of apprenticeship.
In some states, prospective morticians can complete the apprenticeship during the educational program, allowing completion of an associate degree and internship in as little as two years. Four-year bachelor's degree programs typically include a practicum or internship.
Licensing Requirements for Morticians
In all states except Colorado, morticians must obtain a license, typically as a funeral director. In general, applicants for licensing must be age 21 or older and graduates of state-approved training and apprenticeships, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In most states, applicants must pass a state or national board exam and an exam on funeral service law. In some states, the funeral director license also includes embalming, while other states license embalmers separately.
Continuing Education Requirements
Most states require continuing education to maintain a mortician's license, but the requirements vary by state. For example, Minnesota requires 12 hours of continuing education every two years, while Iowa requires 24 hours every two years, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Arizona requires 12 hours each year, including three hours of ethics and compliance, three hours of mortuary science and six hours of professional development. Colleges with mortuary science degrees typically offer continuing education.
Mortician Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a positive outlook – including 4 percent job growth – for those seeking a mortician job, especially if relocating and earning certification are possible. The average mortician salary was $57,620 in May 2018, and the federal government offered the best salary potential of $76,650.
- National Funeral Directors Association: Licensing Boards and Requirements
- Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice: The CFSP Designation
- The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards: State Board Exam
- American Board of Funeral Service Education: Directory of Programs
- University of Minnesota: Mortuary Science B.S.
- National Funeral Directors Association: Exploring a Career in Funeral Service
- Arizona Board of Funeral Directors & Embalmers: Required Continuing Education Categories and Hours
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Funeral Service Workers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 39-4031 Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors
Lisa F. Young/iStock/Getty Images