Eulogy for a Funeral
How a Funeral Helps With Grief
Planning Luncheons After Funerals
Environmentally Friendly Funerals
How Afterlife Beliefs Affect Funerals
Funerals for Famous People
Funerals Around The World
Funeral Director Licenses
Fineral Director's Licenses
Becoming a funeral director may not seem to be the most glamorous of career choices for young people today; nevertheless, it remains a viable option. In fact, when one looks at the profit margins of most funeral homes in today's death care services industry, it may be down right attractive for many. And those who study economic trends report that the field, while not as lively as many others, is growing. Those who study mortuary science and go through the requirements for getting a funeral director license will typically have no trouble finding a job. The demand for new funeral directors is expected to keep pace with the number of people who are interested in the field – at least for the next few generations.
From a consumer's perspective, also, it is important to know what exactly a funeral director studies and learns on his or her path to the profession. So, we offer below a brief summary of some things everyone would do well to know about funeral director licenses.
Funeral Director License Requirements
Funeral director license requirements vary from state to state in the United States, and there is as yet no national standard for licenses – though several national funeral director organizations have maintained quiet pushes for several years to either adopt a single national license or to bring all states on board with similar requirements for their funeral director licenses. As the situation now stands, however, funeral directors who move from one state to another can sometimes have difficulty in transferring their licenses to their new state. This is particularly the situation in relation to mortuary school. Not all states require funeral directors to attend mortuary school. While many require mortuary school only of those funeral directors who wish to also be licensed as embalmers, others do not require it even then. It is because of these discrepancies in laws that some long-time funeral directors must return to mortuary school – where they could ostensibly be teaching classes – late in their careers when they find themselves moving to a new state.
Aside from the mortuary school requirement, funeral directors also face differing rules regarding internships and apprentice programs, and then there is the matter of tests. Some states require funeral directors to test before examiners in a face-to-face interview, and some simply ask for new directors to pass a written test. And, still others, have a combination of the two.
Once a funeral director has received his or her license from the state agency that oversees funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries and such, he or she is then required to continue attending classes throughout his or her career in order to keep the license active. As with other requirements, states vary widely on how much continuing education is required, but, in general, funeral directors can be expected to attend about 10-20 hours (on average) worth of classes each year in order to keep their licenses in good standing.
Whatever the case for a particular state, consumers in every part of the United States can be assured that anyone who is employed at a funeral home in the capacity as a funeral director has been thoroughly vetted and trained and that a state agency stands behind the director's license ready to enforce its provisions and evaluate the director's fitness to continue serving.
What Mortuary School Covers
As we mention above, not all funeral directors have experience in mortuary school, but a good percentage do. (Unfortunately, national funeral director groups do not keep good statistics on just how many funeral directors are formally trained in mortuary schools, though they do note that many states – including, notably, the very large Texas – have only a very small number of mortuary schools in the entire state). Mortuary schools are often independent institutions that operate separately from other schools, and even in cases when the mortuary school is part of another college or university, it is often housed in an area of campus far from other departments and mortuary students often report feeling ostracized or isolated from the rest of their schools. It is debatable whether this is a function of the common stereotype that who are interested in mortuary science are somehow strange or anti-social, but nevertheless, it has been documented in several well-read articles about funeral directors that have appeared in national media.
Mortuary science curriculum typically covers most of the topics that one might expect from a course of study that can be said to be related to the medical field: biology, anatomy, physiology and chemistry. But it also includes some topics that one might not think of when he or she thinks of a mortician: public speaking, communication and even psychology. These latter fields are included in the mortuary science curriculum in most schools because funeral directors are regularly called on to use speaking and communication skills to help console their clients who are almost always suffering from the psychologically difficult stages of grief. In one case, a mortuary science department at a university also required its students to take a course in international diplomacy offered by the same school's political science department. This is because funeral directors also are often called into the middle of difficult family disputes and must be adept at thinking on their toes to help bring peace to situations that could otherwise easily escalate into disaster for a funeral service.
What Funeral Director License Tests Cover
Funeral director licenses are almost always awarded based, at least in part, by a test of some sort. State funeral commissions (or some other relevant agency) will design the tests and carry out the process for administering them. In many cases, as we mention above, the tests involve an interview session with a veteran funeral director or some other expert and in still other cases the test is a matter of a written test.
In general, the tests cover the same material that is covered in the traditional mortuary science curriculum: biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, public speaking, communication, and psychology. In most cases, the state agency makes available ample study materials and a list of specific test objectives that students are expected to meet in order to pass the test, and future funeral directors are encouraged to be as well prepared as possible for the tests.
For more information about any of the requirements for becoming a state licensed funeral director – or to find information about funeral directors that are currently licensed in any state – consumers are encouraged to visit the official website of the state in question and to search on the site for the state's funeral commission or other related body. Most states have an agency that specifically uses the word “funeral” in its title.