“I am a mortician who tells you that you don’t necessarily need a mortician.”
Caitlin Doughty, Activist
Pros and Cons of Working as a Funeral Director
You consider becoming a mortician but are not entirely sure about what to expect from this career path? Good news!
This article is exactly for you since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a mortician in the following chapters.
Mortician Job Profile
|Job Description||Morticians take care of everything that is needed to make a funeral as dignified as possible. Among others, this also implies the preparation of the corpse.|
|Salary||$55,000 per year on average, most funeral directors make between $43,000 and $65,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Good since not many people want to do the job.|
|Job Satisfaction||Rather poor since you will be confronted with death every day.|
|Work-Life Balance||Poor since you will often have to work at nighttime and also have to work many extra hours.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Can be emotionally demanding.|
|Future Outlook||Decent since good morticians will always be needed.|
|Requirements||You will not need a college degree in most states. Finishing high school will often be enough, even though you might need an associate’s degree in mortuary science or funeral service in some cases.|
Advantages of Being a Funeral Director
- Morticians can do an important job for society
- Funeral directors can make decent money
- You can work with many different people
- You can work indoors most of the time
- Undertakers don’t need a college degree
- You can support people during their darkest hours
- Being a mortician is more than a job
- Many people will appreciate your work
- Morticians have decent job security
- Good future job prospects for funeral directors
Morticians can do an important job for society
One advantage of being a mortician is that you can do a really important job for society.
For a second, imagine a world without morticians. In such a world, nobody would be there for your loved ones when they pass away and funerals would often be without any dignity.
In fact, morticians care about all parts of the funeral and make sure that it will take place as best as possible so that relatives and friends can say goodbye in an appropriate manner.
Consequently, morticians do a great job for everyone of us, even though their work is often not appreciated as it should be by many people out there.
Funeral directors can make decent money
While you will not become a millionaire or make as much as dentists by working as a funeral director, you can still make decent money from what you are doing.
In fact, there are many people with similar qualifications who will make less than you from their jobs.
Sure, you will still not make a fortune from your job as an undertaker.
Yet, it will be enough to make a decent living so that you can afford a middle-class life in most regions of our planet.
Hence, it can also make sense to become a funeral director from a financial perspective, even though this should never be the main driver for you to work in this field since you would become pretty unhappy with this job in the long run.
You can work with many different people
Another upside to becoming a mortician is that you will also be able to work with many different people.
In fact, funeral directors have many clients at the same time and have to make sure that everyone is fine and satisfied.
While this can be demanding and sometimes also stressful, it can still give you a good feeling since you know that you will do an important job for society and that people would face serious problems without your work.
In turn, chances are that you will stay happy in the long run with your job since you can find purpose in it while many other people out there who are just working in their jobs for the money will often not stay satisfied with what they are doing sooner or later.
You can work indoors most of the time
As a funeral director, you will also be able to work indoors for most of your workday.
Sure, you will sometimes have to leave your workplace indoors when it comes to the collection of the corpse and you may also have to do some preparation work outdoors.
Yet, while other people have to work outdoors all day long and have to deal with unpleasant weather conditions on a regular basis, you will be able to work most of your time protected by your four walls in a rather cozy environment.
Undertakers don’t need a college degree
In most states, you will also not need a college degree for becoming a mortician.
Yes, you may need an apprenticeship or other forms of postsecondary education.
Yet, you can still avoid the huge costs related to college.
Consequently, you will also not have to take on student loan debt like many of your friends may have to finance their degree.
In turn, you will be much more flexible when it comes to your finances since you will not have to pay back those student loans and will therefore have much more money to spend on other things you like.
You will also become independent from your parents rather soon and can afford to rent or even to buy your own home while many other people have to pay back student loans before they are able to afford those things.
You can support people during their darkest hours
Another benefit of working as a funeral director is that you will also be able to support people during their darkest hours.
Sure, this will not always the best and easiest job since you will have to deal with all the emotional pain and people will often also be in a pretty bad mood since their loved ones have passed away.
However, if you see it as your purpose in life to help people overcome those difficult periods, you can really find meaning in what you are doing and this will keep you going and help you overcome your own problems in life much better.
Being a mortician is more than a job
For many people, working as a mortician is more than a job. In fact, most funeral directors are not just in the game for the money.
Instead, they really want to help people during difficult periods of their lives and want to make sure that they can say goodbye to their loved ones with as much dignity as possible.
Consequently, when you wake up in the morning, you will often be full of motivation and passion for your job, even though you know that not all of your workdays will be pleasant.
Many people will appreciate your work
You should also not underestimate the level of appreciation you will get from people for what you are doing.
Yes, they will not always be able to show it since they are deeply hurt inside due to their losses.
Yet, you will still get this quiet appreciation and admiration for what you are doing and this can really help you stay motivated.
In fact, doing good for others is what drives us as humans in the long run.
As a mortician, you can do many of those good deeds during your career and this can really help you keep going.
Morticians have decent job security
As a funeral director, you will also have pretty decent job security.
In fact, in many regions, there is a serious shortage of people who are able to work in this field and you will therefore almost have freedom of choice regarding where you want to work.
Therefore, you will also not have to worry about losing your job that much.
Even if you did, chances are that you would still find a new job pretty soon in this field.
Good future job prospects for funeral directors
Good morticians will always be needed and this means that you will also benefit from pretty decent future job prospects.
While many other jobs will be lost since people will be replaced by machines, funeral directors will not have to fear technological progress that much since they will give people plenty of emotional support and people simply don’t want to talk to a robot in such situations.
Hence, becoming a mortician can also make sense for you in case job security is really important to you and you plan to work in this field for many years or even for a lifetime.
Now that you know all the advantages that come along with a career as a mortician, it is time to also talk about the downsides related to this job so that you can get a more comprehensive picture of what working as a funeral director really looks like.
Disadvantages of Working as a Mortician
- Funeral directors often have to work at nighttime
- You may have to work many extra hours
- Poor work-life balance for undertakers
- You may not get the appreciation you deserve
- Your job may have some stigma
- Morticians don’t have a high social standing
- You have to deal with people who pass away every day
- Working as a mortician can be emotionally demanding
- Morticians have to be flexible
- Many funeral directors are not able to unplug from their jobs
- Smell at your workplace can be unpleasant
- Risk of infections
- Teleworking is not possible for undertakers
- You will realize that your lifespan is limited every day
- You will hear many bad stories
- Morticians have a high level of responsibility
- Hard to switch to a different industry
- Difficult to start your own business in this field
- Clients can be difficult
- You have to deal with people who are emotionally fragile
Funeral directors often have to work at nighttime
One problem with being a funeral director is that you will often have to work at nighttime while financial controllers and many other people will have classical workweeks.
Quite often, you will have to prepare the corpse for funerals that will take place the next morning.
This means that you will have to work while many other people dream about nice things and working at nighttime can also be really annoying since you will just not have time to meet up with your favorite people in the evening.
Moreover, working at night can also adversely affect your quality of sleep and many morticians experience serious sleeping problems in the long run since their sleeping rhythm will be altered.
Decent sleep is crucial for humans to stay healthy in the long run and you as a mortician may have to deal with serious adverse health issues sooner or later due to your lack of quality sleep.
You may have to work many extra hours
During busy times, you may also have to work many extra hours as a mortician.
In fact, people will not care about your working conditions if they want a funeral to take place pretty soon and even though you might have too much work, nobody will actually care about it.
What people care about is that everything goes according to plan and that they can say goodbye to their loved ones in a proper manner.
Consequently, you may have to work long hours every day during busy periods of the year and if you are a person who rather wants to work 9 to 5, chances are that becoming a funeral director will also not be the right way to go for you in this regard.
Poor work-life balance for undertakers
Since you will have to work many extra hours and also often have to work at nighttime, morticians will have a pretty poor work-life balance in general.
Not only will you not be able to hang out with your favorite people in the evenings, but you will often be pretty tired throughout the day due to your lack of good sleep and this will greatly lower your overall quality of life.
It may also hurt your private life since you will often not have enough time to spend with your family and will often also wake your loved ones up in the middle of the night when you come home from work.
You may not get the appreciation you deserve
While people will often greatly appreciate your work, they will often also not be able to show you this appreciation since they are so overwhelmed with their losses and don’t have any emotional capacities left for thanking you for what you are doing.
This means that you will often go to work and people will not show you as much appreciation as you might like to see.
Depending on your character and your mindset, this may become quite frustrating in the long run.
Your job may have some stigma
Another downside to working as a mortician is that you will also have to deal with some sort of social stigma.
Since you will always have to deal with people who pass away, some people who just don’t know better will blame you for their losses.
In general, funeral directors are not the most appreciated people and you should therefore make sure that you are able to deal with snarky comments in this regard in a proper manner.
Morticians don’t have a high social standing
You will also not have the highest social status as an undertaker.
While people will often appreciate your work, you will still not have the same social standing as doctors or other people who can save lives.
Moreover, you will also not make as much money as other people and a combination of a rather low salary and a low social status can also imply difficulties for you when it comes to finding a partner.
You have to deal with people who pass away every day
Another disadvantage of becoming a funeral director is that you will also have to deal with people who pass away every day.
While this can give you a purpose in life since you will know that you do good for others and play an important role in society, you will still be confronted with rather unpleasant things all day long.
Working as a mortician can be emotionally demanding
Due to the unpleasant work you have to do, the work of undertakers is often also mentally and emotionally demanding.
In fact, some morticians even develop mental issues in the long run since they can simply not deal with all those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
Morticians have to be flexible
Another issue with working as a mortician is that you will also have to be quite flexible.
Quite often, plans change without prior notice and you will have to work long hours to get all the work done in time so that the funeral can take place in a proper manner.
This means that you can never be sure about your actual working hours and especially if you have made plans for your private life, this can be really annoying since you often have to cancel those plans and work instead.
Many funeral directors are not able to unplug from their jobs
It is also hard for morticians to unplug from work and to enjoy their leisure.
Quite often, funeral directors have to think about things that happened at work and many of them will also not be able to forget the rather unpleasant things that come along with this career path.
Smell at your workplace can be unpleasant
You should also not underestimate the rather poor smell that comes along with corpses and you will therefore also have to work in a rather poor work environment since you will be exposed to this characteristic smell on a regular basis.
In fact, there are much more pleasant work environments in different jobs and if you are a rather sensitive person, working in a different field would likely be a much better idea for you.
Risk of infections
If you are not careful, you may also get infected with serious diseases.
For instance, if you get close to a body of a person who died from one of those diseases, you may also get this disease if you don’t take proper protection measures.
Sure, this will not happen as often and the risk for it will be rather low.
However, it can still happen if you are not focused on your work and make mistakes in this regard.
Teleworking is not possible for undertakers
While many other people who work in classical office jobs will be able to work from home for at least part of their workweek, you will have to be present at work in person.
In turn, it may be harder for you to manage your professional and your private life at the same time.
You will realize that your lifespan is limited every day
By working as a mortician, you will also be confronted with the fact that you will have to pass away as well sooner or later quite often.
In fact, you will think about your own destiny on a regular basis and this can be emotionally challenging and may lead to plenty of frustration or even depression if you don’t learn to deal with those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
You will hear many bad stories
Not all people die at a high age.
There are also people who pass away at a rather young age due to some tragic events and you will be the one who also has to deal with all those stories and may also worry that something like that may also happen to your loved ones.
Morticians have a high level of responsibility
You should also not underestimate the high level of responsibility that comes along with working in this field.
People who have lost their loved ones will rely on you and trust you that you prepare the funeral as best as possible.
Hence, mistakes in this regard could cause lots of emotional pain and there will be significant emotional pressure on your shoulders in this regard.
Hard to switch to a different industry
Since morticians will not learn many skills that are valuable in the job market, it can also be quite difficult to find a job in a different field once you have decided to work as a funeral director.
Thus, before becoming an undertaker, make sure that this is really what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Difficult to start your own business in this field
It will also be almost impossible to start your own business as a mortician.
Quite often, this field is heavily regulated and only official funeral directors will be allowed to do their work.
Clients can be difficult
While some clients will be pretty nice, others may really have a bad character and may therefore try to bring you down as best as possible.
Thus, also make sure that you have a stable mindset so that you can deal with those people in an emotionally healthy manner.
You have to deal with people who are emotionally fragile
Some people also have a good character but are rather emotionally fragile due to their loss.
In such a state, it can be pretty challenging to deal with those people since even minor things can really affect their mood.
Top 10 Being a Mortician Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Mortician Pros||Being a Mortician Cons|
|Morticians can do good for society||You are always confronted with death|
|Important to keep our system running||Morticians don’t make a fortune|
|Funeral directors can work indoors||People can be difficult|
|You can emotionally support people||Working conditions may be poor|
|More than a job for most morticians||You will be reminded of your own death|
|You can make decent money||Funeral directors have to be flexible|
|You don’t need a college degree||You often have to work in the evening|
|You can avoid student loan debt||Morticians work many extra hours|
|You can become independent rather soon||You may experience mental problems|
|Many people will appreciate your work||People may not understand your choice|
Should You Become A Mortician?
As you can see from the previous discussion, there are many advantages and disadvantages of being a funeral director.
In the end, you should evaluate all the pros and cons yourself to make sure that you make the right career choice.
If you are still interested in becoming a mortician, you should also get detailed information on salaries, duties, work-life balance, educational requirements, job satisfaction and career options of undertakers.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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