Do I have to get my degree to become a Funeral Director?

posted August 27th, 2012 by admin

Funeral directors (also often known as morticians) work in a service related industry that requires superb customer service while helping families to cope with one of life’s most difficult experiences. Funeral directors arrange for the custody, care and final disposition of a decedent. The funeral director assists families with memorable services that will distinctly honor the decedent’s life. The duties of the funeral director are varied – from arranging chapel or church rituals and coordinating officiating clergy, to securing certified copies of the death record, placing newspaper notices, ordering caskets, flowers and musicians. Funeral directors are also often dual licensed to embalm. State regulations vary regarding licensing requirements for both the funeral director and embalmer. 

Educational requirements for the study of funeral service vary by state, but typically, an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science is the standard prior to one becoming fully licensed as a funeral director or embalmer. Most mortuary science scholastic programs require a minimum of 60 credit hours with a wide variety of course offerings. Academic instruction is typically comprised of courses in Anatomy, Business Organizations, Management, Embalming, Restorative Art, Computer Science, Mortuary Law, Ethics, Descriptive Pathology, Grief and Healing and the Historical Perspective of Funeral Service. Classes may be taken in a traditional classroom setting or through an online funeral director degree program. The traditional classroom setting offers in person, face to face interaction with the professor. The online funeral director degree program is usually offered via computer, where students access classwork via the Internet any day, any time, and if desired, from the convenience of home. However, there is typically an in class, embalming laboratory component for the online funeral director degree program before the conferring of the degree.

Funeral directors typically work long hours, including being on call during the night and on weekends. The funeral business never sleeps – families will call on you for assistance every hour of every day. As well, funeral directors must don a neat appearance, wearing professional business apparel. Funeral directors are expected to emanate a manner of calmness, honesty, seriousness, candor and authenticity. The funeral director’s job is often stressful, and an attitude of natural unaffectedness should be practiced while serving families with genuine sincerity.
While funeral directing presents many challenges, it can be extremely rewarding. Providing families with kind and conscientious service is the cornerstone of the funeral service business. Providing great funeral service is an art, but with the right combination of education, superior customer service and embalming skill, a rewarding career in funeral service awaits.


Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service · 415 Barren Springs Drive · Houston, Texas 77090 ·