Commonly known as funeral directors or undertakers, this might be one of the most unusual career choices for someone. And, not every place in the world would find such a job decent enough to recommend to someone. Regardless, these undertakers are there in every country and take care of the last rites of a person. Or, simply help cremate and bury the deceased.

However, here we want to talk about this as a professional well-paid career as a mortician, and ten things you can do to follow this.

  1. Why do You Want?

As I said, this is an unusual job to be interested in. Though mortuary science has been there from forever, taking the job of an undertaker is not that easy to come by. You do not have enough motivation around you, in media, in movies or anywhere else.

  • Why should you become a funeral director? You need to ask yourself this question first.
  • They help the family of deceased complete the last rites of the deceased, planning the various aspects of a funeral.
  • This planning may be elaborate or simply a cremation varies from place to place.
  1. Know the Qualifications You Need

As mentioned, in some places an undertaker does not need any qualification because his job is simply to help cremate the body. But, in some places, it also involves beautification of the body, embalming and much more.

  • Some employers prefer an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree to start.
  • You need to know which field of study will find your place in the right spot.
  • The degree is known as mortuary science, and this may not be that common everywhere.
  • In the US, a median salary of $43k was recorded in the last five years.
  1. Know about Your Practice

Before you get to practice, you need to have an appropriate license for the same. This is treated as a fair profession in many countries and therefore is passed under scrutiny and licensing just like a driver’s license or spa license.

  • For embalmers, funeral directors and undertakers in established official business, a license is mandatory.
  • They usually have to pass through 1 to 3 years of apprenticeship before working solely.
  • The skills required in this profession are different than other fields, as one may observe.
  1. Know Your Skills, Develop Them

You have to learn and develop the right skills for the job. It does not demand the usual skills when you see IT jobs, construction jobs or whatever. Here you need to understand your locality, regional culture more.

  • Since you are studying it formally, you need to know the regional culture and ethics in funeral service preparation.
  • This might differ from one family to another, and that must be taken care of by your company.
  • Compassion, interpersonal skills, communication skills are majorly important for this job.
  • You can learn more about this from the American Board of Funeral Service Education official Site.
  1. Finish Your Education First

The first step in proceeding further to become a certified mortician is to complete the required education. Usually, this needs the following.

  • In the US, state licensing boards will require morticians to have an associate degree to issue a license.
  • Study a mortuary science program that is accredited by the ABFSE board mentioned above.
  • States will require you to complete one of the above programs followed by additional years of apprenticeship.
  • Some courses that involve this include chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, psychology, embalming, pathology and more.
  1. Taking up a Good Apprenticeship

Selecting a place to do your apprenticeship program is important; you will get your real-life hands-on experience from these places.

  • The ABFSE has mandated that professional morticians fulfill a minimum of three years of apprenticeship.
  • This program can be done before, after and even during your formal education. It depends on how much time you have.
  • In some states in the US, you never need a license to become an apprenticeship.
  • Be sure to check a good supervisor and learn the guidance of a good and experience professional.
  1. You Need to Maintain Your Licensure

In order to maintain your license and keep it active, many states will require you to keep taking programs, learning things and continuing with educational activities. 

  • The above step is to ensure to remain abreast with the current laws in the state.
  • You can take distance courses to do the same, and even take on-site activities for a short period of time.
  • Attending workshops and seminars are also a way to keep this going.
  1. Obtaining a License

In order to actually be able to work alone or an as a business, you need to have a license as spoken earlier. To do you have to appear for an exam of course.

  • For being a professional mortician, most states require you to pass a state licensing examination.
  • Your age must be above 21 years and you must have completed an accredited two-year program as degree fulfillment.
  • Some states will ask you to appear for a separate examination for getting an embalming license.
  1. Personal Care and Service Specialist Figures
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US lists some important things to consider before you jump onto this career line.
  • You can know about your work environment and your cases that you will have to handle.
  • You get to know the play, hours of work, complexity, stress and more.
  • They say about 54k jobs were available in the year 2016.
  • They have listed the median pay for last year as $58k per year and $27 per hour.
  1. Unofficial Training and Diploma

If your state does not make it mandatory to carry any degree or college level education to become a funeral director, you can go the unofficial way too.

  • Be persistent to find a funeral home that is ready to hire an untrained candidate who will eventually learn from practice.
  • Earn your high school diploma or GED and this is relevant for any kind of employment.
  • Check local establishments that offer training too, and that may be where you can find a job.


  • Based on your location, country this might be a promising career or not.

Via formal education, you must have covered the mandatory subjects listed by the state license permit eligibility.

Do morticians get paid well?

The mortician salary is projected to be above the average salary for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, morticians earn a mean annual wage of ​$57,620​, or ​$27.70​ per hour, as of May 2019. This is significantly higher than the median wage for all occupations, which is ​$39,810​.

Is it hard to become a mortician?

To be a licensed funeral director in California you only need to pay for and pass an exam. To be a licensed embalmer is much more difficult. You need to successfully graduate mortuary school, pass the board, then work two full years as an apprentice embalmer.

Are morticians in demand?

In addition, as baby boomers increasingly prearrange their end-of-life service to ensure that their final wishes are met, demand for funeral directors may grow. The individuals in this occupation are older, on average, than workers in most other careers.

How long do morticians go to school?

How long does it take to become a Mortician? The education for mortuary science takes from 2 years to 4 years, depending on if you get your bachelors degree or your associates degree. However, it will still take you around 3 years to do apprenticeships that allow you to shadow a more experienced mortician.

Do morticians remove eyes?

We don’t remove them. You can use what is called an eye cap to put over the flattened eyeball to recreate the natural curvature of the eye. And sometimes, the embalming fluid will fill the eye to normal size. Yes, the eyes and lips are glued together.

Who puts makeup on deceased bodies?

Mortuary makeup artists are licensed cosmetologists who perform a variety of cosmetic services to prepare a deceased person for their funeral. Those services might include hair cutting and styling, manicures and applying makeup.

Are you cremated with clothes on?

In many cases, people are cremated in either a sheet or the clothing they are wearing when they arrive at the crematory. However, most direct cremation providers allow you the option of dressing your loved one, yourself, prior to direct cremation if you prefer.

Is being a mortician depressing?

The job is physically and emotionally draining.

You’re also sometimes on call during the middle of the night — not every hospital has a refrigeration system to keep bodies overnight — which can eat into your sleep schedule. It’s emotionally exhausting as well.

Are morticians and embalmers the same?

For most people the terms funeral director, mortician, undertaker, and embalmer are used interchangeably. The terms mortician and undertaker are synonymous with funeral director. According to a Mental Floss article, “How Morticians Reinvented Their Job Title”, the term mortician started in 1895.

Do morticians sew mouths shut?

Morticians stuff the throat and nose with cotton and then suture the mouth shut, either using a curved needle and thread to stitch between the jawbone and nasal cavity or using a needle injector machine to accomplish a similar job more quickly.

Why do they put gloves on the deceased?

As early as the 1700s, gloves were given to pallbearers by the deceased’s family to handle the casket. They were a symbol of purity, and considered a symbol of respect and honor.

What do they fill deceased bodies with?

A mixture of these chemicals is known as embalming fluid, and is used to preserve deceased individuals, sometimes only until the funeral, other times indefinitely. Typical embalming fluid contains a mixture of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, humectants and wetting agents, and other solvents that can be used.

Do bodies explode in coffins?

Once a body is placed in a sealed casket, the gases from decomposing cannot escape anymore. As the pressure increases, the casket becomes like an overblown balloon. However, it’s not going to explode like one. But it can spill out unpleasant fluids and gasses inside the casket.

What do funeral homes do with the blood from deceased bodies?

The blood goes down the sink drain, into the sewer system. Now any items that are soiled with blood—those cannot be thrown away in the regular trash. Most clothing worn by the decedent is either retained for evidence or released with the decedent to the funeral home—even if they were bloody.

How do they put a deceased body in a casket?

How they place a body in a casket depends on the equipment available to those handling the task. At some funeral homes, they use machines to lift the body and place them into caskets. At other funeral homes, trained staff members simply lift the body and carefully place it.

Why do undertakers sew mouths shut?

Koutandos said a body’s nose and throat are packed with cotton wool to stop fluids from seeping out. Cotton may be used to make the mouth look more natural, if the deceased doesn’t have teeth. Mouths are sewn shut from the inside. Eyes are dried and plastic is kept under the eyelids to maintain a natural shape.

Do coffins filled with water?

Coffins are not watertight so when the grave fills with water it also fills the coffin, which decomposes and rots the bodies faster. This is the vile reality: As bodies bloat and rot in the rancid groundwater, they leach broken down body tissue and lethal formaldehyde into the surrounding ground.

Do bodies sit up during cremation?

Does the Body Sit Up During Cremation? While bodies do not sit up during cremation, something called the pugilistic stance may occur.