Though not always viewed as such, morticians, also known as funeral directors, are some of the most valuable members of our society.
They are the individuals communicating and helping family members through some of the most vulnerable and difficult times in their lives. Morticians find fulfillment in providing compassionate care to people in sensitive situations, as they grieve the loss of loved ones.
Pursuing this caring and rewarding career path has many benefits, including high employment rates and lifelong career satisfaction. But it also requires great preparation. To become a mortician, you need to take very specific steps in your education and training.
Let’s explore the requirements to become a mortician, including the skills, general education, and certification requisites needed to land the job.
What is a Mortician?
Morticians are professionals that family members contact after a person dies to retrieve the body and plan and coordinate the memorial services.
Morticians plan the details of a funeral service. They are responsible for preparing obituaries, arranging religious services, and coordinating the cremation or burial process. They also take care of and oversee the administrative details, such as the paperwork pertaining to the death certificate, so that the affected families can focus their energy on grieving and healing.
- Transportation of the body to funeral home
- Arranging notary services
- Cleaning and dressing the body
- Grief support for the bereaved
- Officiating funeral ceremonies
- Obituary writing
- Death care education and grief aftercare
Additionally, when not directly helping a family and organizing funerals, morticians are found helping out around a funeral home by cleaning and organizing merchandise, ordering inventory, and maintaining records.
Most morticians and funeral service workers are employed full-time and are often on call, meaning they are likely to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends.
Skills Requirements for Morticians
As the professionals that grieving families turn to for support and guidance, morticians need to be caring, compassionate, and considerate as they help others manage the loss of their loved ones.
Additionally, candidates interested in becoming morticians will benefit from developing and strengthening the following skills:
- Empathy: Morticians should be able to validate and affirm another person’s feelings and grief.
- Interpersonal Skills: Morticians work closely with others, meaning they need a high level of tact, patience, and understanding. They also need to communicate effectively and clearly when explaining the steps to arranging a funeral to grieving family members.
- A Business Mindset: Often the ones managing the day-in and day-out operations of funeral homes, morticians should be organized, detail-oriented, and have the business knowledge and organizational skills to handle budgeting, inventory, and other administrative tasks.
- An Interest and Strength in the Sciences: Though it can certainly be developed, an interest and strength in science will benefit anyone aspiring to be a mortician, especially since they will be working with deceased bodies. Morticians must be knowledgeable about the human anatomy and the chemical and biological sciences that go into preserving a body.
Education and Certification Requirements to Become a Mortician
The general educational requirements to become a mortician include completing an accredited funeral service degree program, passing their state or national board examination, and serving a one to three-year apprenticeship. Additionally, aspiring morticians must be at least twenty-one years old.
Candidates should research the state where they wish to practice, as each state’s requirements vary.
Here are the steps for someone to fulfill the requirements to become a mortician in Connecticut.
Step 1: Earn an Associate Degree
Candidates must earn an associate degree, often an Associate in Funeral Service, from an accredited mortuary science program approved by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).
These programs teach students to become well-rounded industry professionals able to address funeral service processes from the initial death call to the final disposition of human remains.
Though every program will vary, our program at Goodwin University can be completed in as few as twenty-four months full-time, and our sixty-five credit degree consists of courses in:
- Humans and disease
- Funeral service management and communication
- Funeral service law and socio-ethics
- Embalming I and thanato-chemistry
- Psychology of Death and Dying
Did you know that you can earn your associate degree in Funeral Service at Goodwin University in as few as 24 months full-time? Download our Get Started Guide to learn more today!
Step 2: Pass the National Board Examination
After completing a mortuary science degree program, candidates are ready to take the American Board of Funeral Service Education’s National Board Exams.
Passing this exam will also make candidates eligible for an apprenticeship.
Step 3: Get Experience Through an Apprenticeship
The third step to becoming a mortician in Connecticut is to obtain and complete a one-year, paid apprenticeship, gaining hands-on experience in the field.
Candidates work under the supervision of a licensed mortician who can oversee their work, embalming bodies, advising family members and friends about their service options, and performing other tasks around the funeral home.
Step 4: Take the Connecticut Board Exam
Upon completing an apprenticeship, candidates take the Connecticut Board Exam to become certified and qualified funeral service professionals.
In addition to becoming a mortician, candidates will also be equipped for the following positions:
- At-need and pre-need consultants
- Funeral service directors and practitioners
- Mortuary transporters
Step 5: Start Your Career as a Mortician
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of funeral service workers, including morticians, is projected to grow eight percent by 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.
This growth rate results in an average of about 7,900 openings each year as more morticians will be needed to assist the growing number of people in the baby boomer generation passing away and those prearranging their end-of-life services.
Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for morticians is $48,950, with the highest ten percent earning more than $83,550.
If you are passionate about caring for others through their darkest days, interested in a career in the restorative arts and sciences, and consider yourself an organized and business-minded individual, a career as a mortician would be an incredibly fulfilling journey for you.
Our Funeral Service program at Goodwin University consists of on-campus lectures, laboratory training, and internship experience in the field to prepare you to make a difference in the lives of families when they need support most.
It’s easy to get started with our hassle-free enrollment. Contact us today to learn more about the requirements to become a mortician and how our staff at Goodwin University is here to get you through college and into a great career!