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Mortuary Science Degrees

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What is Mortuary Science?

Mortuary Science is a field of study in business focused on deceased bodies.  A funeral service is the ritual, rites, and ceremony to memorialize and honor a person who has died which can be held with or without the presence of the deceased.  A funeral service also attends to the needs of the living by giving them an opportunity to grieve, honor, remember, and grapple with loss in a socially acceptable setting.  Mortuary Science focuses on studying dead bodies through mortuary work.  Studying Mortuary Science will most often lead to a career as a mortician, embalmer, or funeral director.

A degree in mortuary science and embalming is necessary for those who plan to work as morticians and funeral directors. Mortuary science and embalming deals with the restoration and preservation of bodies prior to funerary services. A mortuary science and embalming program does not just educate the student in working with dead bodies, but also with the consolation of the friends and families of the deceased. Mortuary science and embalming programs include coursework in business management and ethics.

Educational Requirements in Mortuary Science

In terms of educational requirements, Funeral Service and Mortuary Science degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:

Skills & Abilities Required in Mortuary Science

  1. Active Listening
  2. Writing
  3. Speech Clarity
  4. Speaking
  5. Instructing
  6. Reading Comprehension
  7. Oral Expression
  8. Oral Comprehension
  9. Speech Recognition
  10. Written Comprehension

Employment & Specializations in Mortuary Science

For students that earn a degree mortuary science, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue inside or outside the field.  Career options can include vocations such as: office manager, auditor, mortician, funeral director, embalmer, managers, auditor, human resources, sales managers, teachers, advertising director, marketing executive, cost estimator, psychologist, social worker, and corporate trainer in the public or private domain to name a few possible career tracks.

Upon completion, programs assist individuals with apprenticeship placement, a necessity for eventually obtaining licensure. All states require licensure for funeral directors, though some states may require separate licenses for embalming and funeral direction. The governing body for program accreditation is the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).

Mortuary Jobs & Funeral Service Salary

The job growth in mortuary science domain are steadily growing based on recent surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the DOL.  For example, the rate of job growth for funeral directors is expected to rise 5% through 2024 which is on par with the national average for all jobs during this timeframe.

Given the broad nature of the Funeral Service and Mortuary Science degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly .  As an example, the mean annual income for a mortician is currently $56,300 with the bottom ten percent earning $29,260 a year and the top 10% earning $85,060 on average.

Additional Resources for Mortuary & Funeral Service Students

  • Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FMIC)
  • Funeral Service Foundation (FSF)
  • International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards (ICFSEB)
  • National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA)
  • National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association (NFDMA)
  • The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA)
  • Cremation Association of North America (CANA)

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