Career Development

What Does a Mortician Do?

Find out what a mortician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a mortician.

Morticians are responsible for preparing bodies for burial or cremation following the death of a loved one. This includes embalming the body to prevent decomposition, arranging funeral services and coordinating with clergy members or other professionals involved in the ceremony.

Morticians also work with families during this difficult time to help them plan funerals and memorial services that honor their loved ones. They may even assist families with filing claims with insurance companies or government agencies if the deceased had any outstanding debts or obligations.

Mortician Job Duties

Morticians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Ensuring that funeral services are conducted in accordance with religious or cultural traditions and laws
  • Coordinating with clergy members and other funeral professionals to plan services
  • Performing tasks such as dressing, bathing, and styling bodies for viewing before funerals
  • Coordinating with law enforcement officials to transport bodies to funeral homes or hospitals as needed
  • Coordinating with other staff members to ensure that all legal requirements regarding death certificates, wills, and estates are met
  • Helping families make arrangements for memorial services or burials by providing information about cemeteries, crematories, and other resources
  • Assembling the funeral ceremony program, including ordering flowers, contacting musicians, and hiring clergy members or other service providers
  • Helping families make arrangements for viewing or burial services by coordinating with florists, musicians, clergy members, etc.
  • Providing information to families about legal requirements regarding wills, estates, and trusts

Mortician Salary & Outlook

The salary of a mortician can vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the funeral home they work for, and the location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)

The employment of morticians is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to plan funerals and arrange for burials will limit employment growth for these workers. However, the increasing popularity of cremation may offset some of this effect. In addition, funeral homes are expected to continue offering a variety of services, such as catering and planning memorials, which will allow them to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Mortician Job Requirements

Morticians typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: A mortician degree is typically an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Mortuary Science. This degree takes about two years to complete and includes courses in anatomy, pathology, embalming, funeral service, ethics, law, business and communication. Some schools offer a Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science, which takes about four years to complete.

Training & Experience: Most morticians receive on-the-job training from their employer after they are hired. This training helps the new employee learn the specific procedures and practices of the funeral home. The training may last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on the size of the funeral home and the complexity of the job.

Certifications & Licenses: Morticians require certification to work in the funeral industry. Candidates must pass an International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards test to earn a mortician’s license. The test includes multiple-choice questions related to ethics, anatomy, physiology, pathology, grief counseling, cosmetology and the management of a funeral home. Depending on the state, candidates may also be required to pass a practical test.

Mortician Skills

Morticians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Morticians perform a variety of tasks, including preparing bodies for viewing, preparing bodies for cremation and preparing bodies for burial. Attention to detail is important for ensuring the safety of the deceased and the comfort of their family members. It’s also important for ensuring the accuracy of paperwork and for preparing the body for the correct type of service.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you interact with families and other people who work with you. You can use these skills to answer questions, help families plan funerals and make sure everyone is comfortable. Customer service skills can also help you work with people who are grieving.

Ethics and confidentiality: Morticians work with families and individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Because of this, it’s important for morticians to have strong ethics and confidentiality skills. This ensures they maintain the privacy of the deceased and the family’s personal information.

Mechanical aptitude: Morticians often work with machinery and tools, so it’s important for them to have a good understanding of how machines and tools work. This can help them troubleshoot problems and maintain the equipment they use. It can also help them learn how to operate new machinery and tools they may need to use in their job.

Physical stamina: Morticians often work long shifts and may be on their feet for most of their workday. Physical stamina can help them complete their duties and maintain their health.

Mortician Work Environment

Morticians work in funeral homes, where they prepare the dead for burial or cremation. They also work with grieving families to plan funerals, select caskets, and make arrangements for the disposition of the body. In addition, morticians may work in cemeteries, where they oversee the burial process. They also work with funeral directors to ensure that all funeral arrangements are carried out according to the wishes of the deceased and the family. Morticians must be able to deal with the emotional stress of their work and must be able to handle the physical demands of lifting and moving bodies. They also must have the stamina to work long hours, often on call 24 hours a day.

Mortician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how morticians work. Morticians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Demise of the Traditional Funeral Home

The traditional funeral home is slowly becoming a thing of the past, as more and more people are choosing to have their loved ones’ remains cremated. This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including cost savings and a desire for more personalization in the memorial service.

As morticians adapt to this new reality, they will need to focus on providing services that meet the needs of today’s families. This may include offering cremation services, creating custom urns, or helping to plan memorial services that are more reflective of the deceased’s life.

A Shift From Burial to Cremation

The trend towards cremation is continuing to grow, as more and more people choose this option over burial. This is due to a number of reasons, including cost savings, environmental concerns, and a desire for more personalized funerals.

Morticians can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in cremation services. They can also develop relationships with crematoriums and cemetery owners, which will help them to provide the best possible service to their clients.

Changes in the Way We Die

The way we die is changing rapidly, as medical advances allow us to live longer and longer. This means that morticians will need to learn new ways to prepare bodies for burial.

For example, many people are now choosing to be cryogenically frozen after they die, which requires special preparation. Morticians who are able to handle these types of arrangements will be in high demand in the years to come.

How to Become a Mortician

A mortician career can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it’s important to consider all the aspects of this profession before embarking on it. One of the most important things to think about is whether you have the personality and temperament for this job. Do you have a strong stomach and are able to deal with death and dead bodies? Are you able to work in a quiet environment without distractions? Can you handle working long hours when needed? If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you may be well-suited for a mortician career.

Another important consideration is your education level. Most morticians have at least an associate’s degree in mortuary science or a related field. This will give you the necessary knowledge and skills to perform your duties effectively. Additionally, many morticians also pursue further education in areas such as anatomy, pathology, and embalming.

Advancement Prospects

There are three main ways to advance in the field of mortuary science: through education, through experience, and through certification.

Furthering one’s education is the most common way to advance in this field. Many morticians begin their careers with an associate’s degree, but those who wish to move into management or administration positions will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Some morticians even go on to get a master’s degree in business administration or a related field.

Gaining experience is also a good way to advance in this field. Many morticians start out as apprentices, working under the supervision of more experienced professionals. As they gain experience, they move up to higher-level positions.

Finally, certification is another way to show that you are a qualified mortician. The National Board of Funeral Service Education offers the Certified Funeral Service Practitioner credential, which can be a valuable asset when seeking advancement.

Mortician Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe that every life is special and deserves to be honored. We are looking for a mortician who shares in this belief and is dedicated to providing the highest level of care to our clients and their families. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 2 years of experience working in a funeral home or mortuary, and will be proficient in embalming, funeral preparation, and funeral ceremonies. He or she will be compassionate and have excellent communication skills, as they will be responsible for guiding families through the funeral process.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Arrange funerals, burials, and cremations in accordance with the wishes of the deceased’s family
  • Prepare bodies for burial or cremation by washing, shaving, and applying disinfectants and preservatives
  • Select caskets, coffins, urns, and clothing based on the family’s budget and preferences
  • Embalm bodies using formaldehyde and other chemicals to temporarily preserve them
  • Perform restorative work such as cosmetology, setting features, and straightening limbs
  • Coordinate with funeral directors, clergy, florists, and cemetery or crematorium personnel to ensure that all arrangements are carried out according to plan
  • Transport bodies to funeral homes, mortuaries, or place of burial
  • Maintain records of services performed and products used
  • Clean and sterilize equipment and work areas
  • Answer questions from the bereaved about funeral arrangements and related matters
  • Advise families on after-death care of the body, including embalming, refrigeration, and transportation
  • Assist with administrative tasks such as maintaining inventory and ordering supplies

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree or higher in mortuary science
  • Licensed by the state as a funeral director and embalmer
  • 1-2 years of experience working in a funeral home
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathetic and compassionate nature
  • Ability to handle emotionally charged situations
  • Highly detail oriented

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in mortuary science
  • 3-5 years of experience working in a funeral home
  • Experience managing a funeral home
  • Sales experience

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