A mortician is a licensed professional who supervises and/or prepares the disposition of the deceased and oversees all the funeral preparations. He is more commonly known as an undertaker or funeral director. Becoming a mortician involves a lot more than just taking some courses and getting a license. Not everybody is suited to be a mortician because of the great emotional demands in this field. You have to be prepared to console and deal with grieving family members as they make funeral arrangements. You have to be sensitive toward spiritual rites and religious traditions. A mortician doesn't have regular business hours, as his services are needed at all hours of the day and night. Before you can become a licensed mortician, you have to complete the educational and licensing requirements set forth by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Read the following list to learn how to become a mortician.
- Education Earn a college minor degree in mortuary science. Some colleges offer a degree in funeral education, which is accredited by the ABFSE. This course teaches about death and human development, human anatomy, funeral service psychology and counseling, and mortuary law. Courses in embalming are also offered.
- Licensing You have to pass a rigorous national licensing exam, which covers the topics you have studied. The exam includes embalming, even though you may not want to be an embalmer. Some states require you to have an additional state license, for which you will have to pass an additional exam.
- Apprenticeship Most states require you to apprentice as a mortician for one to three years. You can only do your apprenticeship under the guidance and supervision of a licensed funeral director, after receiving your license.
- Employment You're now ready to work independently as a mortician. You will probably have to work for a funeral home before opening your own business.