Funeral director essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $46,840
- 2010 number of jobs: 29,300
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 18 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Funeral directors; what they do:
Death takes a toll on the family left behind, but professional funeral directors know how to help loved ones through the decision-making involved in saying farewell.
People who choose a funeral director career manage funeral homes and arrange the details of funerals. A funeral director career includes handling all of the logistics.
Working with families and other loved ones, funeral directors arrange for wakes, memorial services and burials and can help determine whether a body should be buried, entombed or cremated. Such decisions matter greatly, especially among varying cultures and religions; that’s why professional funeral directors fill an important role.
Funeral directors also help families write obituary notices and arrange for pallbearers. They may decorate and prepare the funeral service site and provide transportation for the deceased and mourners.
The demeanor and sensitivity of a funeral director can greatly ease a family’s suffering.
Funeral directors duties:
- Arranging transportation of the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home
- Overseeing preparation and care of the remains of people after death
- Obtaining information to complete legal documents
- Performing embalming
- Planning, scheduling and coordinating funerals, burials and cremations
- Arranging for flower deliveries and the time and place of services
- Calling the appropriate clergy
- Training junior staff
- Providing families with information about options
- Arranging the opening and closing of graves at cemeteries
- Helping people who choose to pre-plan their services
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Funeral directors job titles:
- Funeral arranger
- Funeral counselor
- Funeral arrangement director
- Licensed funeral director
Funeral Directors Education, Certification and License Requirements
An associate’s degree in mortuary science provides the minimum training needed for a funeral director career. However, funeral home owners increasingly prefer hiring a funeral director who has a bachelor’s degree.
Funeral directors need one to three years of hands-on training under the direction of a licensed funeral director. Funeral directors in every state need a license; most states require funeral director applicants to be at least 21 years of age. Continuing education and a qualifying exam are part of the process of becoming a licensed funeral director.
Funeral director programs cover subjects such as:
- Embalming techniques
- Restorative art
- Client services
- Funeral service
- Business law
- Grief counseling
Funeral Directors Job Outlook
Forecast: 18 percent employment growth for funeral directors from 2010 to 2020. Also, an increasing number of aging baby boomers make pre-arrangements, boosting the need for funeral directors.
Candidates for funeral director careers increase their job opportunities if they embalm and can relocate.
Funeral Directors Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $46,840
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $62,760
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $35,350
- Death care services
- Federal executive branch