The Real Story of Mortuary Management


Published: 03/15/2011

by Funeral Home Resource


A career in mortuary management can be an unusual one for reasons beyond the obvious. Of course an experienced and skilled funeral director must have the constitution to deal with deceased bodies on daily basis, but he must also possess a unique blend of medical scientist, counselor and businessman.

The requirements to be a mortuary director vary from state to state, but typically require at least an associates degree, passage of a National Board Examination, and some apprenticeship experience. The classes required for a degree include anatomy, physiology, pathology and embalming techniques. Public speaking courses are also recommended to develop the communication skills needed by funeral directors in dealing with the public.

A strong background in business can be important as well. About twenty percent of the funeral homes in the U.S. are owned by morticians so a firm background in accounting and office skills is helpful in running the business.

As with licensing, the requirements for opening a funeral home vary depending on the state. Often qualified people can open a funeral parlor by simply paying a fee and going through a state inspection. A typical funeral home will consist of a viewing area, an area with mortuary equipment for embalming, and a privacy room for families. A separate room for displaying caskets and merchandise is usually part of a funeral home as well.

As the population in America ages, the demand for funeral services will increase. According to the U.S. Labor Department, growth in memorial services is expected to increase 14.6% over the next ten years. Because of consolidation in the industry, however, the number of small family owned funeral homes has declined. Often funeral managers today work for a number of funeral homes owned by just one corporation. Because of this, job growth has been stagnant in the industry despite the increased demand for services.

An entry-level funeral manager can expect to make about $30,000 annually in 2010 with the median pay for managers being around $50,000. Highly experienced managers with embalming qualifications can make $100,000 and up.

So a career in funeral management takes a unique skill set and a special temperament. It is a demanding and stressful job, but with commitment and hard work, it can also be personally and professionally rewarding.