How to become an undertaker

Updated March 23, 2017

This article will instruct you on how to become an Undertaker, Embalmer, or Funeral Director. Your state may have different requirements, so please check with your local Licensing Board. The minimum requirement in all states is to have a one year apprenticeship, and in most you are required an Associates degree in Applied Science. Your apprenticeship can be done before or after your degree is obtained.

First you will need to choose a college in your area. There are many colleges that offer Mortuary Science programs, and you should check their accreditation before applying. If you attend college at a school that is not accredited, you will not be able to fulfil your career goals.

Now that you are out of school, you must complete your Apprenticeship. Some funeral homes may want you to drive the Family Car, or do pick ups and assist on embalmings and arrangement conferences. It is required in 49 states except California that you complete your apprenticeship before you can become a licensed Undertaker.

Once you complete your apprenticeship, you need to take the National Board Exam to be eligible for license in most states. There are many states where your score on this test is not a determining factor, because you must take a separate State Board Exam.

After you have completed your apprenticeship in a satisfactory manner, you now need to apply for your license. The fee varies from state to state, so you should check with your local Licensing Board for more information.


The International National Funeral Directors Association can assist you in finding the information for your specific state requirements. Please visit their website for more information.

Things You'll Need

  • College Education
  • Apprenticeship
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