Discover the Facets of How to Become a Mortician

Discover the Facets of How to Become a Mortician
Source: Youtube Sam The Mortician
Morticians: A Quick Look
Median Salary $46,840 per annum
Entry-level education Associate’s degree
On-the-job training No
Primary employers Funeral homes
Number of positions (U.S.) 23,500
Job Growth (2010-2020) 12% (On Par with Average)
New positions (2010-2020) +2,800
How to Become a Mortician
Source: Youtube Sam The Mortician

What Is A Mortician? 

Morticians, also known as funeral directors or undertakers, are responsible for the day to day management of funeral homes. They work with staff and the family of the deceased to plan and carryout the funeral service and burial. Read more.


Morticians earn a median salary of $46,840 per annum, or $22.52 per hour. Read more.

How to Become A Mortician 

Morticians must attain a minimum of a 2 year degree in mortuary science. Morticians must also be licensed by their state in order to work in the profession. Find out How to Become a Mortician… Read more.

See our listing of the top mortuary science schools & training programs

Job Outlook

The job outlook for morticians is slightly above the national average, with a projected growth rate of 12% from 2012-2022. Read more.

Mortician Salary

How much do morticians make? The median mortician salary is $26 an hour or about $46,840 annually. The top 10% of morticians earned $80,900 while the bottom 10% earned $26,580 or less. The mortician’s salary ranges from state to state and rural vs urban areas. Morticians work full time and are often required to work on weekends and evenings. They are usually on call, and long working hours are not uncommon.

How To Become A Mortician

The requirements necessary to begin a career as a mortician varies state to state. For example, in states that license embalmers, the mandatory education level is an associate’s degree (via an accredited Funeral services or Mortuary Science program); however some states only require a bachelor’s degree and mortuary training. Some embalmers opt for a business degree, followed by earning a mortuary degree, while others go for a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. In some states embalmers need to be funeral directors, and other states let you be a funeral director without requiring that you become a licensed embalmer. You'll want to check the rules and regulations of the state you plan on beginning your career as a mortician in before planning out your courses. High school students can begin preparing for a career as a mortician by taking chemistry and biology courses, as well as taking public speaking classes. Students can also work part time in a funeral home which is a great way to get a feel for everything that goes on in a funeral home. In addition, students must complete on the job training under the tutelage of a licensed funeral director, typically lasting between 1 to 3 years. The apprenticeship can be accomplished before, during, as well as after earning a Mortuary Science Associate's degree.

Educational Requirements

Morticians must have at least an associate’s degree in Mortuary Science; however there are a growing number of employers today that favor applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. The ABFSE (American Board of Funeral Service Education) accredits a total of 57 mortuary science programs, most that are 2 year associate’s degree courses usually offered at community colleges. About nine of these programs also offer bachelor degrees. In all Mortuary Science programs, pupils take courses in funeral services, grief counseling, ethics, and business law, as well as restorative and embalming techniques courses. Online mortuary science programs are also available online through some educational facilities for the part of the program that doesn't require hands on training. All programs are typically taught by experienced funeral directors and morticians who have been working in the industry for a significant amount of time. Note: The specific educational requirements required to become a mortician may vary state-by-state. If you're considering becoming a mortician there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, only 20% of your time will more than likely be spent with the departed, with 80% being spent helping the families get through a very difficult process so it's important that you are a people person, and a good listener with a compassionate side. It's a good idea to consult with your local mortician and ask them about their job; most would be happy to answer your questions. Afterwards if you still want to pursue this time honored profession, visit the AFSBE website, browse through their many resources, and checkout schools in your area and what they have to offer; then all you need to do is choose a school and get on the road to a rewarding career as a mortician.


There are several certifications as a mortician you can attain, however most are a boost for your resume, rather than a requirement for working in the profession. The degree and experience is more important than any mortician certification however, depending on your goals and your state, pursuing certification may be worthwhile.


A license is required to practice as a mortician. In order to get a morticians license you need to pass a state, or national, exam and be 21 years of age. Typically this is only a written test but this can vary as well. Usually, the educational facility you acquired your degree and/or certificates through will prepare you for this test. Working in numerous states may lead to additional license requirements; applicants should contact their state licensing board for more information. All states require morticians to be licensed and licensing laws will vary by state. In order to be licensed most applicants need to:
  • As mentioned above applicants must be 21 years of age
  • Complete the 2 year AFSBE mortuary science program
  • Serve as an apprentice for 1 to 3 years
  • Pass the approved exams.
In addition, in order to keep their licenses, most states require morticians to complete continuing education credits annually.

Mortician job description

What does a mortician do? A career as a mortician is more than working with the deceased and the living, it calls for the individual to be part scientist and embalmer is some cases, small business owner, counselor and even groundskeeper. You need to be prepared to deal with death and the bereaved day in and day out which doesn't work for everyone. This career choice also calls for sensitivity and more importantly, great time management skills. Most morticians also organize and plan out the logistics of the funerals they handle as well as any details that need sorted out. They help the families set up the dates of the services and burials, establish locations, and help them choose whether the body should be entombed, cremated or buried, often based on religious and cultural affiliations.


Mortician duties vary depending on what the job function is as well as where they are located. If your funeral home is in a small, rural community you may end up washing the hearses, cleaning the mortuary, doing the embalming, and more general duties like meeting with families, being a shoulder to cry on, just about everything it takes to run a business like this in a small town. In metropolitan areas, especially if you own or are employed by a corporate funeral service, you're skill level and duties will be more specialized. For example there may be a number of employees, each with their own duties, one doing the embalming, another meeting with the families and helping them prepare for and plan their loved one's funeral, and going to the actual funeral as well with the family.

Alternative Job Titles

  • Funeral directors
  • Undertakers
  • Embalmers

Job Outlook

The position is also always in demand, and the number of jobs in this field are expected to rise by 12% from now until 2022. The employment growth for morticians reflects a boost in the number of expected deaths among the biggest portion of the population; the baby boomers. In addition, a rising number of older individuals are expected to prearrange their funeral services, meaning the need for more qualified funeral directors.

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