The death of a loved one is both heartbreaking and tragic. It is also quite complicated for surviving family members, who must now coordinate the funeral services. They must make announcements, schedule services, and ensure their loved one’s wishes are met. Of course, this is not easy when the family is hampered by sadness and grief. And that’s where a mortician or funeral director steps in.
What Do Morticians and Funeral Directors Do?
A mortician’s job is much more than what meets the eye. There are so many little details that go into funeral planning, and it is the duty of a mortician (also known as a funeral director) to coordinate these intricacies. These professionals are typically contacted right after a person dies, to retrieve the body and to begin planning for the memorial services.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, morticians and funeral directors can be found preparing obituaries, arranging for clergy/religious services, and coordinating the cremation or burial processes. They take care of all the countless, administrative details that go into a funeral, allowing the family to focus their energy on grieving and healing.
Below are some of the common job duties of a mortician today:
- Helping the family choose between cremation and burial, if not already indicated by the deceased
- Helping the family choose the casket or urn for the deceased
- Preparing obituary notices to announce the death
- Scheduling times for the wake, funeral, and/or burial
- Arranging for pallbearers and clergy for religious rites
- Arranging for cremation, or for the opening/closing of the grave with the cemetery
- Embalming the body for viewing, if desired
- Ensuring the services provided meet the wishes of the deceased
- Offering counseling to bereaved family and friends
- Providing transportation for the mourners and the deceased
- Arranging for the retrieval and transportation of the body out of state or out of country, or simply from the hospital, after death
- Filing death certificates and other legal documents
- Transferring pensions, insurance policies, or annuities to survivors
Now you may be wondering, what does a funeral director do on the day-to-day, when they are not helping families through a death? During their “down-time,” funeral directors and morticians may be found helping out around the funeral home – cleaning and organizing merchandise, filing paperwork, ordering inventory, and maintaining records. Morticians may also help make future funeral arrangements for people who are still living, who wish to plan their funeral services in advance.
Morticians and funeral directors maintain a typical daily work schedule, however, are on call 24-hours a day. This is because funeral services often need to be arranged within 24 to 72 hours of a death. Funeral directors must be ready to help families during times of need, whenever that may be. This can be particularly stressful if several deaths occur within a short period of time, and multiple funerals need to be scheduled the same day.
Despite the stressful nature of this job, it is one of the most rewarding career paths you can pursue today. Funeral directors and morticians have the unique duty of helping families through the most difficult times of their lives. They are both compassionate counselors and event coordinators, and they make a real difference in the lives of people every day.
In addition the heart and the impact that comes of this career, the professional reward is also great for morticians and funeral directors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals make an average of $59,000 annually across the United States. In Connecticut, however, the salary potential goes well-beyond this figure. Connecticut is the top-paying state in all of the U.S. for funeral directors, morticians, and undertakers. Today, Connecticut morticians can expect a salary of $159,970 per year.
Now, the question is, how can you get into this rewarding field, and start making a difference in the lives of others? How can you start doing what a mortician does every day? The first place to start is with education: earning a mortuary science degree. According to Connecticut law, morticians must have:
- An associate degree from an accredited mortuary science program
- Complete the national board examination
- Complete a one-year paid apprenticeship, where you will gain hands-on experience in the field
- Take the Connecticut board exam, and become a licensed Mortician or Funeral Director
You can learn more about the steps to become a mortician here.
While this may sound like a lot, you can accomplish the educational and certification requirements in just three years’ time. And right now, the demand for funeral service workers is high. Morticians and funeral directors are needed more than ever, as the United States’ death rate is expected to rise at record-rates with the aging baby boomer population.
Interested in becoming a funeral director or mortician in Connecticut? Goodwin University is a leading and accredited mortuary science school in the state. Contact us today at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our flexible and career-focused funeral service program.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.