Morticians – also known as funeral directors – play a vital role in our culture and the greater cycle of life. However, there are many misconceptions around this career path. As a result, you may be wondering, “What is it like to be a funeral director today?”
It may be surprising to many that working in the funeral service brings many rewarding and gratifying moments to the everyday job. The truth is that funeral directors and morticians have a career that requires much compassion, counseling, support, planning, and organization. It is a highly people-oriented profession with a focus on helping others during some of the most challenging moments of their lives. Funeral directors are not just professionals working in funeral homes – they are counselors, supporters, planners, and business managers, too.
Funeral directors today also enjoy a rewarding salary with many benefits. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn an average salary of nearly $60K per year. Additionally, roughly 4,000 job openings will become available for funeral service workers each year for the rest of the decade.
Entering this line of work is not for the faint of heart, of course. If you are interested in the funeral service industry, you may be asking yourself: “What is it like to be a mortician or funeral service director?” Read on, as we examine the life of a funeral director today and what it takes to succeed in the uniquely rewarding field of mortuary science.
What Does a Funeral Director Actually Do?
Anyone who has ever attended a wake or funeral service has probably seen a funeral director. This quiet presence is usually seen wearing professional attire, greeting guests with sensitivity and respect for the family and friends who are also grieving their loss. What guests do not realize, however, is that the job entails so much more than being in a suit.
Funeral directors also work as business managers of their funeral home. They run the daily operations of their facility, plan wakes and funeral services, and coordinate every detail leading up to those events. They must know how to manage the costs associated with funeral processes, oversee staff, plan the intricate details of the funeral, file important documents, and remain compliant with state laws.
There is also a scientific element of the job. While morticians may not be embalmers, per se, they still need to know how to work with the deceased. Funeral directors have a variety of practical science skills in their toolkit. They have an understanding of the human body, they know how to examine corpses as needed, and they also know how to preserve and prepare the body for funeral service purposes.
If a burial is chosen, funeral directors schedule the opening and closing of a grave with a representative of the cemetery. If a family opts for cremation, they coordinate the process with the crematory. They also arrange the shipment of bodies for final disposition.
Much like embalmers, morticians also often embalm bodies. Embalming is a temporary, cosmetic preservation process through which the body is prepared for viewing by family and friends at the funeral service. This requires a mix of art and science.
The Big Picture: What It’s Like to Work in Funeral Service
Being a funeral director means that you are overseeing everything that comes with the final services for a person who has died. Aside from the business, scientific, and logistic aspects of the job, there is a great responsibility of the funeral director to guide and assist the family coping with their loss. You are serving as a temporary support system for a family in grief. You are their confidant, and, in many ways, a counselor to families planning the service to honor their loved one. This is an important part of the funeral director’s job, and it requires empathy and understanding. Anyone who enjoys working with people and helping them through times of need would appreciate the great reward that a career in funeral service can offer.
Mortuary science is not just about the study of the deceased. It is the study of everything that happens within the funeral home and funeral services. Prospective funeral directors must study embalming, business management, and service work all together, as they pertain to post-mortem events. They even sometimes write obituaries for local publications. Because of this all-encompassing role, the field of mortuary science requires a very special person to pursue a career in this line of work.
Start with an Education
If you think you have what it takes to succeed as a funeral director or mortician, you may want to pursue this career and start with a solid education.
Funeral directors wear multiple hats. At a mortuary science school, like Goodwin University, you can learn everything you need for this dynamic role as you work to guide people through their darkest days.
If you think this is the role for you, learn more to start your journey today. Contact Goodwin University by calling 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
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.