How to Become a Funeral Director

A funeral director oversees the details regarding the memorial services of the deceased. Working closely with the family and friends of the departed individual, the funeral director guarantees that a memorial service meets the needs and wishes of the deceased and his or her loved ones. In learning how to become a funeral director, you should first and foremost possess a natural empathy for those who are grieving and a desire to help them through this difficult and painful process.


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    Depending on your state, acquire a degree in mortuary science. Most mortuary science programs last from 2 to 4 years. The classes you take will teach you this very particular skill and all it entails.
    • Classes will range from the scientific, such as anatomy, physiology, and embalming, to the financial, like how to operate and manage a business and handle bookkeeping procedures.
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    Check your local licensing requirements. All states require funeral directors possess valid licensure. The license is granted to qualified individuals upon successful completion of an exam. Many areas also demand that licensed funeral directors complete a certain amount of continuing education in the field.
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    Get a job as an apprentice. Funeral service apprenticeship is an ideal way to start your career in mortuary science. You will work under the authority of a seasoned professional in the field, giving you a firsthand glimpse of what it's like to work in this challenging profession. By leaning how to become a funeral director in this way, you can gain intimate knowledge of the industry and witness the details and finer points of the job.
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    Ensure that you possess the requisite emotional capabilities of the profession. Funeral directors have emotionally exhausting workdays, and they must meet a variety of demands on a daily basis, from dealing with the pain of grieving loved ones to the logistical challenges of constructing a memorable memorial service. Compassion is a key trait in those learning how to become a funeral director.
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    Start at a lower position in a funeral service business. Do not assume that just because you have your degree and have passed your licensing exam that you will automatically land a job as a funeral director. You may have to start at a less senior position within a funeral service company, working as an assistant to a funeral director or even as an embalmer. By going this route, you can work your way up within the company while learning how the different facets of the business operate.


  • An associates degree in mortuary science typically takes two years to complete. If you wish to gain further education in the field, there are a handful of colleges who offer bachelor's degrees in mortuary science. These more advanced degrees will give you a leg-up in the industry and will teach additional skills, such as grief counseling, legal concerns, and ethics.


  • Be prepared to come in contact with the dead and any diseases the deceased individual may have had. Since a funeral director works within many different areas of the company, he/she may have to help prepare the body for presentation. Funeral directors go to significant lengths to protect themselves from any diseases or illnesses that contact with the dead could cause.

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Categories: Death Funerals and Bereavement | Occupations