Funeral Directors and Managers


Human Services > Funeral Directors and Managers > Preparation
Occupation is in demand for the following regions: Northeast
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Funeral Directors and Managers

Funeral Directors and Managers - Preparation

To work as a funeral manager, you typically need to:

  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • complete a two-year program in mortuary science; and
  • have one to five years of work experience.

To work as a funeral director, you typically need to:

  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • complete a two-year program in mortuary science;
  • complete long-term, on-the-job training; and
  • pass state licensing exams.

Education after high school

Funeral directors and managers learn their skills through programs in mortuary science. Some community and junior colleges offer two-year programs. A few colleges and universities offer both two- and four-year programs.

Mortuary science programs usually include courses in anatomy and physiology, pathology (the study of disease), embalming techniques, and restorative arts (cosmetic reconstruction of deceased). They also offer courses in business. Other courses cover the psychological side of the business, such as working with people who are suffering from grief and loss. People who graduate from mortuary school are called mortuary science technicians.

Work experience

You should work in a funeral home part time or during summer break before starting a training program. A summer job as a funeral attendant can help you become familiar with the operation of funeral homes. This can help you decide if the work is what you want to do. Funeral managers need office management experience.

On-the-job training

Funeral directors must complete long-term, on-the-job training. You work with a licensed embalmer or funeral director. Depending on state regulations, this training lasts from one to three years. This training may take place before, during, or after you finish mortuary school.

Some funeral homes offer in-house training. This may be hands-on or classroom-based or a combination. Training usually lasts six to twelve months.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.