Working in the funeral industry can be a tough and depressing job, but it's also a solid career with many opportunities for success. Within the industry, you can work as anything from a grave digger to a mortician. It all depends on your educational background and willingness to learn new skills. Being a mortician requires a very different skill set from someone who builds caskets or runs a crematorium. You will have to decide what speciality within the funeral industry best suits you.
- Skill level:
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Start in high school with classes in biology and chemistry, along with participation in public speaking or debate clubs. If you want to be a funeral director, you will need to develop the ability to talk to people during emotional times in their life. Tact is very important.
Enrol in college or mortuary school to enrol in a mortuary sciences program.
Contact funeral homes and seek an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are often required before you can work independently, and may last several years while a more experienced funeral director or mortician teaches you the tricks of the trade.
Take a licensing test. All states require licensing according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Licensing boards often have training requirements before you are allowed to become a licensed funeral director.
Tips and warnings
- Many funeral homes are family run and you may have luck asking them if they need assistants or are looking to take on apprentices, if going to a full-time mortuary school is not an option for you. The funeral industry is multifaceted and requires several skills, ranging from pathology to business management. Seek formal education, if possible, even if you do not plan to become a mortician or embalmer so that you understand every aspect of the funeral industry.
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