Careers in Funeral Service

Careers in Funeral Service

If you are interested in:

  • Helping Others
  • The Human Biological Sciences
  • Community Involvement
  • A Business Environment

Then a career in funeral service may be right for you! Funeral service professionals work with the bereaved during times of emotional need. These professional caregivers enable families and communities to express their emotions and help them to properly grieve.

Funeral directors often describe being drawn to funeral service because it is a “calling.” Hear from a few funeral directors about why they can’t imagine doing anything else.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide support to the bereaved during the initial stages of grief
  • Arrange and direct funeral ceremonies
  • Arrange for removal of the deceased from the place of death
  • Prepare the body according to the wishes of the survivors and legal requirements
  • Secure information for legal documents
  • File death certificates and other legal papers
  • Assist survivors with details for filing claims for death benefits
  • Help individuals adapt to changes in their lives following a death through post-death counseling and support group activities

There’s no “typical” day for funeral directors, but that’s what keeps it interesting for these individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping families during the most difficult times in their lives.

Funeral directors receive the education and knowledge they need to serve grieving families, but what does it really take to be a funeral director?

What have you heard about funeral service? These funeral directors set the record straight about common myths and misconceptions.

Educational Overview

Most states adhere to these basic educational requirements: Please contact the funeral service college of your choice for more specific educational guidelines.

  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • An Associate Degree, or its credit hour equivalent, a portion of which is in funeral service education
  • Passing a state and/or national board licensing examination
  • An internship or apprenticeship ranging from one to three years
  • Many states require funeral directors to meet continuing education requirements to maintain licensure

A thorough mortuary science education prepares students to enter the funeral service profession with confidence. Learn about how to find the right program for you and what to expect when you get there.

Embalming can play a very important role in helping families say goodbye to a loved one, providing them with the opportunity to see their loved one. Not sure if you’d like this part of the job? Even people who think they wouldn’t have what it takes to embalm a body usually find it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being a funeral director.

As a student, one of the best decisions you can make is to join your national association. Student membership will set you apart from other candidates once you graduate and will provide you with the information and resources you’ll need to successfully serve families. 

Funeral Service as a Second Career

Considering a new career? If you’ve already been in the workforce for a while, whether several years or decades, taking a new career path may be intimidating – but it can also be exciting! For some, a second (or third!) career in funeral service provides the perfect combination of working in a customer-focused environment and learning new skills that help them serve families.

Often, people who have worked in a service profession – law enforcement, education, health care, etc. – are particularly drawn to the service-focused aspects of funeral service. However, becoming a funeral professional can be a fit for anyone who sees the value of helping people during difficult times, enjoys working with people and understands the value of honoring a life.

Many of the skills you acquired in a current or previous career will transfer nicely to funeral service:

  • Customer service
  • Working with people
  • Attention to detail
  • Management
  • Processes and procedures

What Types of Positions Are Available - and Where?

Want to learn more about the types of jobs available in funeral service? Visit the National Funeral Directors Association Career Center and learn more about the companies that are hiring and the positions for which they are currently recruiting. Peruse detailed job descriptions to learn more about what funeral directors and other funeral service professionals do on a daily basis. 

So what happens after graduation? Learn more about what you might expect when you start your first job.

Funeral Directors Say It Best!

Listen to episode 12 of the “A Brush with Death” podcast, a podcast produced by the National Funeral Directors Association. Hear from five recent mortuary science graduates, including first-career funeral professionals and two individuals who are pursuing funeral service as a second career. Listen as they share insights regarding their education and career path so far.

Podcast Episode 12: The Future of Funeral Service Is Bright

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