Job Description

A Mortician is responsible for many aspects of the funeral process. They are responsible for providing services to family members of the deceased. The services include arranging transportation of the body from the morgue, planning the funeral services, embalming of the body, coordinating the burial with the cemetery and preparing for the actual cremation if the option is chosen.

In all of these aspects, they will either advise the family or unilaterally make all decisions if the family authorizes them to do so.

  • Provide transportation of the body from the morgue or hospital
  • Embalm the body of the deceased
  • Coordinate the funeral event
  • Write the obituary if so authorized
  • Counsel and consult with family members regarding their loss and the impending funeral
  • Coordinate with crematories for cremations
  • Coordinate the burial process with cemetery officials
  • Select appropriate clergy and arrange for last rites
  • Organize and host the final viewing
  • Prepare legal documentation such as the death certificate
  • Administrative duties as required when running a business
Alternate job titles:

There are several other titles that can be substituted for Mortician. They include Funeral Director, Embalmer, Licensed Funeral Director, Funeral Arrangement Director, Undertaker and Funeral Home Director.

Mortician Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average Funeral Director salary is $51,600 per year. Most Morticians and Funeral Directors own their own mortuary or work in the family business.

As business owners, they usually work long hours as the handle multiple funerals and administrative duties for the business. This includes evenings and weekends.

Individuals who work only as Embalmers earn a slightly lower salary than a Mortician salary. Wages tend to increase with experience. Morticians located in urban areas are paid at the higher end of the scale, while those located in small rural areas are paid at the lower end.

How to become mortician

Morticians and Embalmers are required to earn an Associate's degree in Mortuary Science from an accredited college or university. As far as certification and licensing are concerned, the requirements for becoming a Mortician may vary from state to state. In all states except Colorado, Morticians and Embalmers are required to be licensed. In some states, the license for those two responsibilities are separate. In order to qualify to take state board exams, many states require a 0ne-year apprenticeship in addition to the Associate's degree. A prospective Mortician is also required to be at least 21-years of age. After receiving a passing score on the state board exam, the Mortician's license will be issued.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Mortician:

From start to finish, the process of becoming a licensed Mortician takes approximately 3-3.5 years at a minimum. That time-frame includes two years to complete educational requirements, one year of apprenticeship, and approximately six months to complete the state board exam.

Educational Requirements:

In order to enroll in an accredited Mortuary Science program, a student must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. In college, the student will be required to earn an Associate's degree. Some employers may require a Bachelor's degree, but it is not common. There are only seven Bachelor's programs around the nation. The course study required to earn an Associate's degree usually includes Biology, Ethics, Grief Counseling, Business Management, Business Law and Embalming.


There are currently no certification requirements within any state. Morticians are required to obtain licensing.


The licensing requirements differ from state to state. It is important to note that most states issue licenses for Embalmers and/or Funeral Directors, not Morticians. Also, several states require separate licenses for these two occupations. In the State of Colorado, there is currently no licensing requirement. Generally, prospective Morticians are required to earn an Associate's degree in Mortuary Science from an accredited school.

In most states, they are then required to spend a one-year apprenticeship (this requirement could be as high as three years, depending on the state) with a licensed Mortician. The exam is done in written format and the applicant must receive a passing score. The cost related to the exam is minimal, usually $200-$400.

Some states also require passing the national board exam administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining.

Job Outlook

According to the BLS, there are currently 32,800 funeral service workers in the U.S. The expected growth rate, based on 2012 data, is 12% over a 10 year period (2012-2022). This is in line with the national growth rate for all occupations.

This occupation remains a stable area of employment. The primary factors that affect the need for Morticians includes an aging population, and more individuals pre-planning their own funerals. While a significant number of new Morticians join the family business, there is still an increasing need for new Mortuaries throughout the country, especially in areas of high population growth.