Experiencing the death of a family member or loved one is difficult and emotional for most people. Families and friends rely on funeral directors to arrange services and handle the logistics of the funeral. If you are a compassionate person who would like to provide this personal service, consider majoring in Funeral and Mortuary Science.
In this major, you will take classes in embalming, funeral service management, biology, chemistry, and psychology to learn everything from handling the funeral to preparing legal documents to consulting with the family. It is just as important to understand how to prepare the deceased and run a funeral home and it is to speak with families with tact and understanding. Those involved in the funeral services industry are providing a personal service to the community and must learn how to deal with this delicate matter.
Along with the option to major in general Funeral Service and Mortuary Science, students have the option to specialize in areas such as Funeral Service or Mortuary Science and Embalming.
Since most Funeral and Mortuary Science professional work with grieving family members, strong interpersonal skills are a must. Death can be very emotional, making compassion a top priority for those pursuing a career in this professional. Time management and organization are other required skills since professionals are often working with multiple families at once.
A career within Funeral and Mortuary Science is a full time job. Funeral directors often work long hours, nights, and on weekends to ensure arrangements are properly made and all details are complete. This career is often stressful as funerals are often arranged within a few days after death.
The requirements to become licensed as a funeral director vary from state to state, so it is best to contact the licensing board of the state you intend to practice in when choosing between programs to ensure you are fulfilling all requirements. Typically, students must have at least 2 years in an American Board of Funeral Service Education certified program and complete a 1-3 year internship after graduation before taking a licensing exam. The licensing exam may be state administered or be a national board exam. Although the length of the internship and type of exam vary, both aspects are required.
Almost all graduates with a degree in Funeral and Mortuary Science go into the funeral services industry. Graduates often pursue a career as a funeral director or embalmer. The economy does not play a large role in the need for funeral services, so jobs in this field grow at a steady pace. Graduates who are willing to relocate or have the skills to embalm should find jobs quickly.