All You Need To Know About A Mortician Career

You consider becoming a mortician but want to get additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you everything you need to know about being a mortician in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a mortician, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, duties, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, future outlook and much more.

You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about working as a funeral director.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to work in this field or rather want to go for a different career instead.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What does a Mortician do?

Morticians organize funerals and make sure that everything goes according to plan when people say goodbye to their loved ones.

They also make sure that cemeteries look tidy and nice so that visitors feel comfortable at those places.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Mortician

  • Organizing funerals
  • Scheduling funerals
  • Making sure that graveyards look tidy
  • Ensuring a quiet atmosphere on cemeteries
  • Reading prayers
  • Helping people choose the right coffin, urn and decoration
  • Giving emotional support to people who lost their loved ones
  • Preparing obituary notices
  • Working together with tombstone sellers
  • Complying with regulatory aspects related to funerals

What a Typical Day of a Mortician looks like?

Morticians usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.

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The first thing they do after getting to work is to check their schedule and see if they have to prepare anything for the next funeral.

After doing some organizational work and making some phone calls, undertakers lead funerals all day long and make sure that people can say goodbye to their loved ones in a respectful manner.

You will also make sure that the cemetery you work for is tidy so that a peaceful environment can be assured for both visitors and also people who are buried in those places.

After working in this style for many hours, you will finish your workday between 4 and 6 p.m. most of the time.

Mortician Salary 2021

Mortician salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $87,000> $43.42
Top 25 %$69,000 – $74,000$34.47 – $36.88
Bottom 25 %$48,000 – $53,000$23.93 – $26.49
Bottom 10 %$37,000 – $42,000$18.38 – $20.92
Range$37,000 – $95,000$18.38 – $47.45
Average (Mean)$59,000$29.42
Median$57,000$28.39

Mortician salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$37,000 – $45,000$18.38 – $22.46
Junior$43,000 – $58,000$21.41 – $28.93
Professional$56,000 – $67,000$27.89 – $33.43
Senior Professional$65,000 – $73,000$32.47 – $36.49
Expert$71,000 – $88,000$35.42 – $43.95
Top Expert$84,000 – $95,000$41.93 – $47.48

Mortician salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$56,600$28.29
Alaska$54,200$27.08
Arizona$57,800$28.87
Arkansas$56,100$28.03
California$65,800$32.88
Colorado$53,700$26.84
Connecticut$55,100$27.53
Delaware$57,200$28.58
District of Columbia$61,300$30.62
Florida$62,600$31.27
Georgia$53,200$26.58
Guam$55,800$27.89
Hawaii$59,700$29.84
Idaho$56,100$28.04
Illinois$52,200$26.08
Indiana$57,500$28.73
Iowa$54,300$27.12
Kansas$56,900$28.42
Kentucky$54,100$27.03
Louisiana$57,200$28.59
Maine$58,500$29.23
Maryland$61,300$30.64
Massachusetts$63,700$31.82
Michigan$57,200$28.58
Minnesota$58,100$29.03
Mississippi$54,300$27.12
Missouri$52,800$26.38
Montana$53,900$26.94
Nebraska$55,400$27.69
Nevada$57,200$28.57
New Hampshire$59,800$29.87
New Jersey$61,500$30.73
New Mexico$54,300$27.13
New York$64,400$32.18
North Carolina$55,900$27.93
North Dakota$53,300$26.64
Ohio$54,600$27.28
Oklahoma$57,100$28.52
Oregon$59,400$29.69
Pennsylvania$61,800$30.89
Rhode Island$58,200$29.08
South Carolina$57,400$28.67
South Dakota$53,100$26.53
Tennessee$56,800$28.38
Texas$55,700$27.82
Utah$57,200$28.59
Vermont$56,300$28.13
Virginia$54,800$27.38
Washington$61,500$30.74
West Virginia$57,100$28.53
Wisconsin$55,400$27.68
Wyoming$52,900$26.41

Job Security of Morticians

Morticians enjoy pretty decent job security since not many people out there want to do this job anymore and you will not have to fear losing your job unless you are really unlucky or do something extremely stupid.

Future Outlook of Morticians

Not only will you have decent job prospects right now, but also the future outlook for funeral directors is pretty awesome since due to our increasing population, an increasing number of morticians will be needed and this means that you will have almost freedom of choice regarding for whom you want to work in this field.

Working Hours of Morticians

Most morticians get to work between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Hence, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work or to spend on your hobbies.

Job Satisfaction of Morticians

Most morticians are decently happy with what they do for a living.

Even though they are confronted with death all the time, they can still make decent money and also have enough leisure to spend on the things they like so that they have a pretty solid work-life balance while many other people who work in investment banking don’t have this luxury and rather work long hours every day.

Promotion Opportunities of Morticians

Promotion opportunities for morticians are rather limited.

Even though you can climb the ladder from a regular mortician to a funeral director who plays a leading role, it will still take you many years or even decades to get to this point.

Career Levels of Morticians

  • Mortician intern
  • Mortician apprentice
  • Junior mortician
  • Senior mortician
  • Funeral director with personnel responsibilities
  • Manager of a cemetery

Fields and Types of Morticians

  • Morticians specialized in urn burials
  • Morticians focused on casket burials
  • Morticians with expertise in burial at sea
  • Morticians specialized in giving emotional support to people who lost their loved ones
  • Morticians specialized in playing music instruments at funerals
  • Morticians focused on decorations
  • Morticians specialized in keeping graveyards nice and tidy
  • Morticians organizing funerals for people who don’t speak the local language
  • Morticians specialized in exotic funerals

Educational Requirements for Morticians

While morticians often don’t need a bachelor’s degree to be able to work in this field, they often still need an associate’s degree in mortuary science or funeral service.

Getting this degree will usually take you between 2 and 3 years after finishing high school.

How to become a Mortician

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a mortician
  2. Finish high school
  3. Apply for associate degrees in funeral service or mortuary science
  4. Get your degree
  5. Apply for apprenticeships in this field
  6. Master the job interview
  7. Sign your labor contract
  8. Finish your apprenticeship
  9. Become a licensed funeral director

Character Traits you need as a Mortician

  • You should not be afraid to be confronted with death
  • Willingness to work in a rather sad environment
  • You should be empathic towards people who are in a pretty bad mood
  • Ability to deal with lots of emotional pressure
  • You should be reliable
  • You should be passionate about helping people overcome difficult times
  • Passion for working at a sacred place
  • You should believe in a higher power
  • You should be good at dealing with people in general

Hard Skills for Morticians

  • Good knowledge of how to carry out funerals
  • Knowledge of hygienic aspects related to burials
  • Expertise in chemistry and microbiology may help as well
  • Engraving skills are a plus
  • You should be able to deal with death in an emotionally healthy manner
  • Expertise in organizing everything people need to make funerals as nice as possible
  • Knowledge of prayers is a plus
  • Expertise in playing music instruments is a plus
  • Knowledge of rules, laws and regulations related to funerals

Soft Skills for Morticians

  • Empathy for people who just lost their loved ones
  • Passion for supporting people during difficult times of their lives
  • Ability to give emotional support
  • Good interpersonal skills help you gain trust from your clients
  • Time management skills help you get funerals done
  • You should be willing to work with your hands
  • Ability to stay happy while working in a sad environment on a daily basis
  • Ability to deal with emotionally fragile people
  • You should be a good listener

Exit Options for Morticians

Morticians don’t have great exit options.

Once they start working in this industry, they often stay in their jobs for many decades since funeral directors are pretty specialized and often have a hard time finding a job in a different field.

Mortician – Similar Careers

  • Tomb caretaker
  • Clergyman
  • Pathology technician
  • Crematory technician
  • Forensic scientist
  • Coroner
  • Embalmer
  • Thanatologist
  • Gardener

Mortician Career FAQs

Is working as a mortician physically demanding?

Being a mortician can be physically demanding since you will often have to carry the coffin and this can really hurt your spine in the long run.

In fact, many morticians suffer from back pain or other spinal issues sooner or later since they have to stress their bodies at work quite a lot.

Is working as a mortician mentally demanding?

Working as a funeral director is not heavily mentally demanding.

However, it is still emotionally demanding since you will have to deal with many sad people and you will also have to work in a pretty sad environment in general.

In turn, you should have a stable mindset so that you can stay positive and your job will not bring you down in the long run.

Is it dangerous to work as a mortician?

Working as a mortician is not dangerous.

Although you will be confronted with death every day, you will still not be at great risk of suffering from accidents at work and will be able to work in a rather safe manner.

How long do morticians stay in their jobs?

Morticians stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since they are often pretty happy with their overall working conditions and are also able to make decent money from what they are doing.

Moreover, undertakers are also pretty specialized and will have a hard time finding a job in a different field.

Is it easy for morticians to find a new job?

Since funeral directors are in high demand right now, you will have a rather easy time finding a new job in this industry in case you get fired for various possible reasons.

Is it hard to switch from being a mortician to another field of work?

While it is relatively easy for morticians to find a new job in the industry they are specialized in, it is pretty hard for them to find a job in a different field since funeral directors are often pretty specialized and often lack the skills and qualifications needed to work in a different industry.

Do morticians have a high social status?

Morticians don’t have a high social status.

Even though they do an important job for society so that people can say goodbye to their loved ones in a respectful manner, your work will still not be appreciated as much as the work of doctors or other people who can save lives on a regular basis.

Can you help out your family and friends as a mortician?

You will not be able to provide great value to your loved ones as a mortician.

While carpenters can produce nice furniture, roofers can fix roofs and financial advisors can give you hints on how to invest your money properly, morticians will not be able to do anything of that and you may therefore have a rather low social standing among your circle of friends.

Can morticians work remotely?

Morticians are not able to work remotely.

Instead, you will have to be present at your workplace in person and while many other people who work in classical office jobs can work from home quite often, you as a mortician will be less flexible in this regard and will also have to spend lots of time and money commuting to work and back.

Is it easy to find a partner as a mortician?

Since morticians are able to make decent money and also enjoy pretty solid job security, they are considered good providers and you will have a rather easy time in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship.

Do morticians have to work on weekends?

Morticians sometimes also have to work on weekends.

However, for the majority of weeks, you will have free Saturdays and Sundays and will just organize funerals on weekdays.

In turn, you will have sufficient time to spend with your loved ones or on your favorite hobbies.

Do morticians have to work on holidays?

Morticians don’t have to work on holidays.

Instead, you can spend those days with your loved ones and can also make nice trips with your favorite people while waiters or train drivers have to work during those unpleasant times.

Do morticians have to work at nighttime?

Funeral directors don’t have to work at nighttime.

Instead, you will work in a classic 9 to 5 environment and will come home from work early quite often.

In turn, you will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work while financial analysts and many other people often have to work long hours.

Do you have to travel as a mortician?

There is no need to travel for you as a mortician.

While many other people who work in demanding office jobs have to do business trips on a regular basis, you as a funeral director will be able to spend your leisure at home with your loved ones and will not be away quite often.

Are mortician pensions good?

Since morticians can make decent money during their active careers, also their pensions will be pretty decent.

Moreover, funeral directors are often also able to save and invest some money for retirement and most morticians will therefore not suffer from financial issues once they quit their active careers and retire.

Are mortician salaries going up?

Mortician salaries have been going up significantly over the past years.

In fact, there is a shortage of qualified morticians in many regions since not enough people want to work in this field anymore and with increasing demand and decreasing number of people who are willing to work in this field, prices for mortuary services and salaries in this field will likely continue to go up in the future.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a mortician?

While you will do an important job for society to keep our system running and also assure that people can say goodbye to their loved ones in a decent manner, you will still not have as high of a positive social impact as teachers or professors who can influence the thoughts and attitudes towards life of many people per day.

How long does it take to become a mortician?

It will take you between 3 and 5 years to become a funeral director.

After finishing high school, you will often have to get an associate’s degree in mortuary science or funeral service and you will also have to work as an apprentice for a few years until you are officially able to work as a licensed mortician.

Is it difficult to become a mortician?

While it is not difficult to become a mortician, you will still have to spend lots of time on education and if you are not really passionate about working in this field, you may not push through difficult times and may quit your career in this field rather soon.

Do you need to be smart to work as a mortician?

You don’t need to be a genius for working as a mortician.

What’s much more important than your cognitive intelligence is that you also have high emotional intelligence and really understand what drives people and how you can calm them down during tense situations.

Do morticians have a good work-life balance?

Morticians have pretty good work-life balance since they often don’t have to work on weekends and also come home from work relatively early while they can still make good money at the same time.

Do morticians have to work many extra hours?

Funeral directors don’t have to work much overtime.

Instead, you will have a rather rigid schedule and at the end of your workday, you will just get home from work and don’t have to meet strict timelines and deal with high workloads compared to many other people who work as a consultant and have to work many extra hours on a regular basis.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a mortician?

To maximize your chances of becoming a mortician, you should work as an intern in this industry at a rather young age so that you already get some experience in this field and also make some contacts that could help you find a job as a mortician later in your life.

Can morticians work part-time?

While morticians might be able to work part-time in theory, most morticians still work full-time since their hourly wage is relatively low and most people who work in this field need a full-time job to cover their expenses.

Do morticians work indoors or outdoors?

Morticians work both indoors as well as outdoors.

Hence, you should not be afraid of working outdoors during times of extreme heat or heavy rain.

If you are not willing to work under those unpleasant conditions, you should rather become a financial controller or work in a different office job.

What does the workplace of a mortician look like?

Morticians spend most of their workday at a cemetery.

Thus, you will be surrounded by many tombstones and you will also be confronted with death on a daily basis.

You will also have to deal with many sad and desperate people and you therefore need a strong mindset to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run and to avoid getting depressed.

Do you have to look good for working as a mortician?

You don’t have to look good for working as a funeral director.

However, you should still look groomed so that people will not be disgusted by your appearance and can say goodbye to their loved ones in a respectful manner.

Is a mortician career beneficial for your private life?

Since you can make decent money while you will still come home from work relatively early and will have more than enough time to spend with your family, being a mortician can be beneficial for your private life since it is a good job to maintain a long-term relationship.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a mortician?

You don’t necessarily need a college degree for working as a mortician.

However, in many cases, you still need an associate’s degree in funeral service or mortuary science and this means that you will have to spend lots of time on education before you are officially able to work as a funeral director.

Do you need to be certified to work as a mortician?

You often need to be certified or licensed to be able to work as a mortician.

However, this greatly depends on the state you want to work as a funeral director and rules and regulations may be quite different across states and regions.

How much does it cost to become a mortician?

Since you will often have to get an associate’s degree in mortuary science or funeral service, you will have to spend some money on your education.

However, it will still be relatively cheap compared to bachelor’s or even master’s degrees you would have to get for working in many other fields.

Is being a mortician a good career?

Being a mortician can be considered a solid career since you can make decent money from what you are doing while you will still have more than enough leisure to spend with your loved ones or on your hobbies.

However, you will still be confronted with death on a daily basis and whether you really get happy with your mortician job greatly depends on your character and your attitude towards life in general.

Is it easy to start your own business as a mortician?

It is relatively hard to start your own business as a funeral director since you would have to meet many regulatory requirements and funerals are also often administered by municipalities or other official institutions.

In turn, you may have a hard time getting a foot in the door and if your dream is to work self-employed, you should rather become a carpenter or work in a different field where there is more private market economy involved.

Can morticians teach themselves?

Morticians are able to teach themselves to a certain extent.

However, you will still need to get lots of formal education before you will finally be able to work as a funeral director and teaching yourself would just not be enough to get a job in this industry.

Do morticians make good money?

Morticians are able to make decent money from what they are doing.

While you will not make as much money as dentists or doctors, you can still make a decent living from what you are doing as a funeral director.

Is it ever too late to become a mortician?

While it is never too late to become a funeral director, it still makes sense to become a mortician at a rather young age since you would have to spend many years on education and the sooner you start, the more years you have to benefit from your education.

Do morticians have to quit their careers early?

Some morticians have to quit their careers early since working as a mortician can be physically demanding since you will often have to carry the caskets.

In turn, many morticians suffer from back pain or other spinal issues in the long run and may have to quit their careers due to those physical health problems.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a mortician?

The hardest part about working as a funeral director is that you are confronted with death all day long and that you always have to look into sad and desperate faces.

In turn, it is really hard to enjoy your time at work since you will have to work in a pretty depressing environment.

Can you provide for your family by working as a mortician?

Since funeral directors are able to make good money from what they are doing, they also have a rather easy time when it comes to providing for their families and your spouse may not have to work but may rather be able to stay at home with the kids.

Will morticians suffer from old-age poverty?

Most morticians don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they are able to make really decent money from what they are doing and can save enough money for retirement purposes.

Moreover, morticians also get decent pensions and will therefore not suffer from serious financial problems once they quit their active careers and retire.

Can morticians retire early?

Even though morticians are able to make decent money from what they are doing, it will still not be enough to quit their careers early in most cases and most morticians therefore have to work until official retirement age.

Do morticians get a fixed or variable salary?

Morticians get a fixed salary most of the time.

Hence, you will get a pretty steady income while many other people who work in sales will often be paid based on commissions and will have a much harder time planning their financial future since their income greatly varies over time.

Can you get rich as a mortician?

While you can make decent money as a mortician, it will not be enough to get wealthy or even rich.

If getting rich is your goal, you should rather start your own business or work as a lawyer or a judge instead of becoming a funeral director.

Do morticians need a second job?

Since morticians are able to make decent money, most of them don’t need a second job to pay their bills.

However, some funeral directors may still need a second job in case they live in really expensive regions where rents are insanely high.

Do you get continuous training as a mortician?

While you will learn many things at the beginning of your career, you will no longer get continuous training once you become more senior and it will be on you to get really good at what you are doing and to hone your craft out of inner motivation.

Do you get sick pay as a mortician?

Many morticians also get paid in case they get sick.

However, this also greatly depends on your region and if you are not sure in this regard, you should ask a local mortician about this topic.

Do morticians have a high level of responsibility?

Morticians have a high level of responsibility since it is on them to do everything that is necessary to make funerals as nice and as respectful as possible so that people can say goodbye to their loved ones in the best possible manner.

Can morticians work abroad?

Morticians are needed all over the world. However, before you move to a foreign country, make sure to inform yourself about the working conditions and wages so that you don’t experience unpleasant surprises in this regard.

Is it stressful to work as a mortician?

While you will not have to deal with heavy time pressure as a mortician, it can still be emotionally stressful to work in this field since you will be confronted by death all day long and it can be really hard to unplug from work.

Is it boring to work as a mortician?

Working as a mortician may become boring if you are not passionate about what you are doing. In such a case, you might rather find out what you are passionate about so that you can stay motivated with what you do for a living in the long run.

Is being a mortician hard?

Being a mortician can be hard both from a physical as well as from an emotional perspective since you will have to carry heavy coffins while you will still have to work in a rather sad environment.

Are morticians at risk of burnout?

Since morticians have to deal with lots of emotional pressure, many of them are at great risk of burnout.

Hence, before becoming a funeral director, you should take an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you are made to work in such a depressing environment to avoid suffering from mental health issues in the long run.

Is there a dress code for morticians?

Morticians often dress in a rather conservative manner.

While you will often wear dark suits as a man, women will often wear conservative dresses.

What kind of morticians are paid the most?

The longer you work in this field and the higher your level of responsibility, the more you can make as a mortician.

Hence, if you want to make really good money, you should aspire to a career as a funeral director where you have lots of personnel responsibility and also a managerial role in the whole process.

What percentage of morticians are women?

While around 29% of morticians are women, 71% are men.

Thus, this industry is dominated by men, even though both men and women have equal chances and those numbers can be explained since more men are willing to work in this field.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a mortician?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a mortician.

However, it can still help to have an experienced funeral director on your side who can help you overcome difficult periods of your career and can also provide you with lots of emotional support.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a mortician?

You will not be personally liable as an employed mortician most of the time.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should consult a lawyer or get proper insurance.

Do morticians have a high life expectancy?

Morticians have pretty decent life expectancy since they work in a rather safe environment and are also able to enjoy lots of leisure so that they are able to recover from work in a proper manner.

Do morticians suffer from sleeping problems?

While morticians don’t have to work at nighttime and can maintain a steady sleeping pattern, some morticians still suffer from sleeping problems since they are not able to deal with all the emotional pressure that comes along with working as a funeral director in a healthy manner and may therefore not be able to fall asleep.

What states are best for working as a mortician?

Since your salary as a funeral director will not greatly vary across states, you should choose a state or a region where living costs are rather low so that you can make a decent living from working as a mortician.

Who do morticians work with?

Morticians work with many different people on a regular basis.

Since those people are often sad and emotionally vulnerable since they have just lost their loved ones, you should have great people skills to calm them down and to offer them emotional support during those dark times.

Is working as a mortician cool?

Working as a mortician is not considered cool by most people.

In fact, not even your family and friends may understand your career choice if you tell them that you want to become a funeral director and you may have to deal with snarky comments in this regard quite often.

Can you start a side hustle as a mortician?

Since morticians have lots of leisure, they are also easily able to start a side hustle.

However, they still often have to learn additional skills since morticians are pretty specialized and don’t learn many valuable skills during their day jobs.

Do you have to be creative as a mortician?

You don’t need to be creative as a mortician. Instead, you will do the same things over and over again.

Hence, what’s much more important than being creative is being empathetic so that you can deal with emotionally-fragile people in a healthy manner.

Do morticians suffer from being overweight?

Since morticians carry caskets on a regular basis and therefore get enough exercise at work, many of them stay fit and don’t suffer from being overweight.

How employable are morticians?

Since our world population is growing, morticians are in high demand right now and this trend will continue in the future.

Thus, morticians are pretty employable and will have excellent job prospects for many years to come.

Are morticians happy with their jobs?

Most morticians are happy with their jobs.

Even though they have to deal with lots of emotional stress at work on a regular basis, they can still make decent money while they are also able to get home from work pretty early.

Is working as a mortician exciting?

Working as a mortician can be exciting since you will work with many different people and it will always be a challenge to set the right tone when it comes to giving comfort to bereaved people.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a mortician?

As a mortician, you will not have a big positive impact on our environment since you will mainly focus on making funerals as nice as possible and you will just not care about protecting our planet that much.

What are the pros and cons of working as a mortician?

If you still aspire to become a mortician, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a mortician career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/752908/number-of-morticians-undertakers-and-funeral-directors-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/752899/industries-with-the-highest-levels-of-employment-of-morticians-undertakers-and-funeral-directors-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/882963/number-of-funeral-homes-in-the-united-states/

Interviews and own research.

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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