How To Become A Mortician

Nowadays, morticians are more widely known as funeral directors. Their job is to help families who have lost loved ones manage the details a funeral. Morticians are responsible for moving a body to the mortuary, preparing a body for the ceremony, performing a burial in accordance with the family's spiritual requirements, and arranging a body's final disposition. People interested in becoming funeral directors should follow these steps.

Step 1: Get the Necessary Education

The education requirements for morticians include a high school diploma and mortuary college. Lasting for 1 to 2 years, the coursework in a mortuary college typically includes anatomy, chemistry, embalming, mortuary law, federal regulations, pathology, microbiology, professional ethics, restorative art, funeral service counseling and psychology. However, some states may require a Bachelors degree and continued education to comply with licensing laws. Students should take business and communication courses to help facilitate their role as morticians.

Step 2: Finish an Apprenticeship or Internship

Morticians are required by the American Board of Funeral Service Education to complete a 1- to 3-year apprenticeship or internship. Apprenticeships can be held before, during and after the student gets the necessary education, depending on state regulations. Some states require apprentices to have a license (similar to having a permit to drive). During the internship, they can perform mortuary work only under the direct supervision and guidance of a professional. This part of the education and training process will give aspiring funeral directors the exposure they need to the reality of running a funeral home.

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Step 3: Take the Exam to Become Licensed

In order to fully become a mortician, it's required that the national exam is passed to earn a license after completing the necessary education and internship. According to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, the exam includes the following career subjects: business law, pathology, microbiology, anatomy, psychology, restorative arts, embalming, funeral service history and funeral service merchandising. Some funeral directors decide not to be involved in the embalming process, but they still have to know it when they go to take the exam. Some states also require that a state exam be taken to earn a license.

Step 4: Pursue a Job and Continue Education

After becoming a licensed mortician, find a funeral home where there is an opening for a mortician's position. Speaking directly to the head funeral director is the best way to secure a job, as it shows initiative. People who want to own their own funeral home can expect to work full-time, and they will be busiest if they set up in a rural area. Additionally, some states make funeral directors participate in further education courses to keep their license. It's beneficial for morticians to do this anyway so that they can stay updated on current funeral service laws and trends throughout the industry.

It doesn't take too much education and training to become a mortician. The hardest part for people is deciding if they can handle deceased bodies and the counseling that goes with helping the surviving family members and friends. This career is only for people who have great communication and interpersonal skills.

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