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How to Become a Mortician? (Full Guide)

how to become a mortician

Are you interested in training to become a mortician

This career is perfect for people who have an interest in anatomy and strong problem-solving skills. It can be the foundation for a range of other roles, such as a surgeon or medical examiner. However, you need to have a strong stomach to do this job and be comfortable working alone. It is also necessary to commit to the intense training you need to complete to qualify for the role.

 So, let’s take an in-depth look at how to become a mortician? Along with what this job involves…

What Does A Mortician Do?

What Does A Mortician Do?

This job involves overseeing all aspects of funerals for the loved ones of clients. This includes preparing bodies so that they are ready for burial. This is also a customer service role that involves talking clients through the funeral process and arranging different services. 

Some of the other common tasks of this role include:

  • Embalming and preparing bodies for private viewing.
  • Providing information about various services.
  • Helping clients make arrangements.
  • Conducting funeral services.
  • Arranging for cremation or burial.
  • Booking and organizing transport.
  • Filling out death certificates.

The Work Environment

This role usually takes place in a funeral home, and most of your work will be done there. It is often necessary to travel to private homes, places of worship, and cemeteries to provide services. In addition to visiting clients, you may be required to travel with bodies to their final resting places.

It is often necessary to work long shifts when working on bodies for clients. You need to work quickly and efficiently to make sure that work is completed within the specified timeframe. It is often necessary to work on weekends, and you need to be on call in case there is urgent work. 

How To Become A Mortician? – Essential Skills

It is necessary to have a wide range of both hard and soft skills to do this job. While the hard skills can be taught, the soft skills relate to your personal attributes. Here are the main skills and attributes you need to possess to excel in this role. 



A large part of this role is supporting families who are suffering from grief. It is necessary to have a lot of compassion to be able to do this well. Although you may not always be able to understand someone’s grief, it is important to empathize with them. 

Interpersonal skills

It is important to have a lot of patience to do this job well. Many people have trouble making decisions when they are mourning a loved one. You need to be gentle and accommodating to make the experience as easy as possible. 

Technical skills

There is a wide range of technical skills you need to do this job. This includes performing different types of restorative techniques to prepare bodies for presentation. While these skills will be taught during the right course, you have to stay up to date with modern techniques. 

Time management

There is usually a short window between when someone dies, and they are cremated or buried. Therefore, it is essential to be able to work quickly and efficiently. You need to be able to prioritize tasks so that everything is completed on time. 


There are a wide range of traditions around death that can vary widely between cultures. Some families may also have their own traditions that they want to work into the funeral service. It is essential to be able to set judgment aside and work to help each family achieve their vision. 

Verbal communication

It is important to speak calmly yet confidently when interacting with clients. You need to be able to communicate clearly so that clients understand the different available services. 

Typical Requirements

It is necessary to be at least 21 years old to start doing this job and hold a specified degree. After completing the education requirements, you then need to apply for certification. Let’s take a closer look at the requirements you have to meet before you can start your first job. 



It is necessary to complete an associate’s degree in mortuary science or funeral service. If you are still in high school, you can prepare for this by studying chemistry, biology, and business. It is important to make sure the degree program you choose is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education.

Most of these courses run for two years and are available at community colleges. The courses cover important restorative and embalming techniques as well as anatomy and business law. Students also learn grief counseling techniques, the ethics surrounding grief, and how to run a funeral home.  

Further studying is always helpful!

Earning a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science and funeral service will help you advance your career more quickly. While a bachelor’s degree is not a strict requirement, it will help you land a job in a larger funeral home. You will also learn advanced business practices that can be very useful later in life. 


It is best to start your training as early as possible to make sure this is the right career for you. If you are still in high school or college, you can apply for a part-time job at a funeral home. This will give you an insight into how bodies are prepared and funerals are organized. 

If you are completing an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, you will need to complete an apprenticeship or internship. This will help you to gain the hands-on experience you need to work independently. These training programs last for between one and three years and allow you to work closely with a licensed mortician

Types Of Certification

Most states require prospective morticians to earn a license before starting work. Once you have completed the certification requirements for your state, you may need additional certification. While you only need a state license in some parts of the country, you also need a national license in others. In both cases, you need to pass a special test before you are granted certification. 

State license

The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards provides a range of study materials on its website. It is a good idea to take the time to study these materials before arranging your State Board Exam. 

The exam consists of three hundred multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge of funeral sciences and arts. It is necessary to obtain a passing score before gaining your certification and being permitted to start work. 

National license 

National License

You must complete a course accredited by the American Board Funeral Service Organization to obtain a national license. Again, you need to review the provided study materials before scheduling a National Board Exam. The exam consists of 340 questions that cover the same topics as the State Board Exam. 

How To Become A Mortician? – The Steps

There is no shortcut to success when it comes to qualifying to fulfill this role. It is best to plan your path to becoming qualified as early as possible to make sure you are ready for the challenge. Here are the main steps that you need to take before you can start your first job. 

Complete the required education

Make sure you understand the educational requirements before starting to study. It typically takes two years to gain the degree that you need. However, some community colleges allow you to study part-time if you have work or family commitments. 

Complete the necessary work experience

Most degree programs will help you to arrange an internship at a funeral home. It is important to choose a funeral home that will allow you to gain some hands-on experience. The amount of responsibility you are given is likely to increase as you progress with your training. 

Obtain a funeral service license

It is essential to find out which type of certification is required to work in your state. If you live in the state of Colorado, gaining certification is not a strict requirement. However, this special certification will help you gain an edge over the competition. 

Work on your resume

Work on the Resume

Depending on where you live, you are likely to find that the competition for entry-level mortician roles is quite high. Many people hold the same job for several years, and vacancies can be thin on the ground. Therefore, it is important to make sure your resume stands out from the crowd.

Make sure your highest level of education is clearly highlighted on your resume. You also need to highlight the knowledge and experience you gained during your training program. Carefully format your resume so that it is as clear and concise as possible. It is also important to create a cover letter that gives employers a sense of who you are.   

Start applying for jobs

Once your hiring documents are ready, you can start applying for a job in a funeral home. It is a good idea to reach out to different funeral homes in your area and highlight your qualifications. The place where you completed your internship may also have the perfect job with your name on it. 

You may find that it takes a little time to find the perfect job. In this case, it is a good idea to work on any professional connections you have made during your training. Attending conferences and networking events can also provide leads on funeral homes to contact. 

Professional Associations

Joining a professional organization is always a good way to boost your career prospects. You will make connections with other people in the industry and learn about the latest developments. Here are some of the professional associations that are open to membership. 

National Funeral Home Directors Association (NFDA) 

This is the leading funeral service association in the world, and it proudly serves nearly 20,000 members. These members represent funeral homes both throughout the United States and around the world. The association offers education on a wide range of topics, including loss, grief, bereavement, planning funerals, and consumer tips. 

Cremation Association of North America (CANA) 

This association was founded in 1913 and boasts more than 1,200 members. The association is dedicated to providing information and education on cremation. One of the main focuses is helping to raise and maintain the highest possible standards. 

International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA) 

You can join more than 7,500 members by becoming part of this professional association. All areas of the industry are presented by this organization, including funeral services, cremation, and memorialization. The association is committed to promoting superior ethics, consumer choices, prearrangement, and open competition.

The National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association (NFDMA) 

Joining this professional association is a good way to meet other morticians and funeral directors. The association arranges regular workshops and seminars, which can prove to be a wealth of information. Members are also treated to educational materials to make use of as well as career advice and assistance. 

Practice For Your Job Interview!

I’ve put together a great selection of interview guides covering such topics as how to answer What Are Your Career GoalsHow Would You Describe Yourself, and What Are You Most Proud Of, or how to Answer Why Best Candidate PositionWhy Do You Want To Work Here, and What Makes You Unique?

We also have our How To Answer What Are You Passionate AboutHow Do You Handle Conflict, or find out what are your Strengths And Weaknesses For Job InterviewsWhy We Should Hire You, and our Best Questions To Ask In An Interview in 2023.

Finally, take a look at The Hardest Interview Questions, what are the Best Questions To Ask A Recruiter Before An Interview, as well as Unique Interview Questions To Ask Employers, and how to prepare for your Final Interview Questions, and you’ll be ready to go!

How To Become A Mortician? – Final Thoughts 

While working as a Mortician is not for everyone, it can be a steady and lucrative career. The average salary for this role is around $58,000 per year. However, the annual salary can rise to $90,000 once you have gained experience.

Large funeral homes in major cities tend to pay the highest salaries. Earning special certification is a good way to boost your income; plus, if you have a head for business, you could open your own funeral parlor and set your own rates.

All the very best in your new job as a Mortician!


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