Funeral Director

What Does a Funeral Director Do?
Funeral directors are responsible for arranging all of the ceremonies involved in the burial of the deceased. They listen to the wishes of the deceased’s family and other loved ones, honor religious and cultural requirements, and also help the deceased’s family in filing the appropriate death paperwork. Funeral directors interview the family that is handling the funeral arrangements to find out what the family wishes to be done and what special services, if any, will be required. Funeral directors iron out all of the details of the services, such as the locations, dates, and times of memorial services. They also prepare obituary notices for newspapers. In addition, many funeral directors are experts in embalming, which is a process that preserves the deceased’s body during the process between death and burial. Those who are experts in embalming often also dress the deceased’s body for presentation purposes, including applying cosmetics to the body so that the deceased has a more natural look.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Funeral Director?
Though it is too often a tragic affair, with every life there must come death. Just as life insurance and wills are created to ease the process of death and grieving for everyone involved, a funeral director’s role exists to help the loved ones of deceased individuals through a tough time. With a large portion of the population entering their elder years, funeral arrangements are becoming more of a tough, yet inevitable, reality. Of all the deaths in 2007, 70 percent were casketed and had some form of ceremony performed to go along with the mourning process, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Due to the complexity and expense of arranging all the different components of funeral services, which includes guest transportation, scheduling wake and memorial services, and the actual burial, many people look to funeral directors to assist them in ensuring that the funeral service runs smoothly and honors the deceased. Employment opportunities for funeral directors are expected to increase 12 percent by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Funeral directors make an average salary of $52,210 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Funeral Director?
Aspiring funeral directors should earn an associate degree in mortuary science. An associate degree program typically takes about two years to obtain. During this time, students take courses in anatomy, embalming techniques, business management, and other classes that build the student’s understanding of the funeral business and skills required to successfully work as a funeral director. Funeral directors often also take courses in counseling and grief management so that they may become familiar with how to handle grieving families during the difficult funeral arrangement process. After completing an associate degree program, prospective funeral directors must earn licensure. Licensure laws vary from state to state, although most states require that those seeking licensure have an associate degree in mortuary science, at least a year of apprenticeship in a funeral home, and successfully complete an examination. Funeral directors may also become licensed in embalming, as more and more people are looking for funeral directors that can handle both the arrangements and embalmment of the deceased.