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Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors
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Description: what do they do?
Perform various tasks to arrange and direct funeral services, such as coordinating transportation of body to mortuary, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, aiding with the selection of officials for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.
Also known as:
Funeral Arrangement Director, Funeral Arranger, Funeral Counselor, Funeral Director, Licensed Funeral Director, Funeral Location Manager, Licensed Mortician, Funeral Prearrangement Counselor, Funeral Pre-Need Consultant, Mortician

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: As a mortician, undertaker or funeral director, you will be a bridge for those who wish to make plans for their future death, as well as those who have recently survived the death of a loved one and wish for closure. Morticians and undertakers may help clients resolve insurance claims, apply for veterans’ funeral benefits, arrange transportation for mourners, decorate the sites of all services, and find resources on overcoming grief among many other diverse tasks. Funeral service managers conduct the general matters of running a funeral home, such as allocating expenses, handling marketing and public relations, and managing staff. For many who aspire to become a funeral service worker, the key to success is by obtaining an associate’s degree in mortuary science. Funeral directors and embalmers are legally required to obtain a license everywhere, except Colorado. Additionally, funeral service workers are expected to do an apprenticeship of 1-3 years under the guidance of a licensed funeral service professional. As a funeral service worker, you may need to coordinate funeral services within 24 to 72 hours of death. For many funeral service workers, this means working long, unpredictable hours in the evening and on weekends. For funeral service employees, the work is never truly done. As a mortician, undertaker, or funeral director, you will be a member of a robust, growing industry that provides vital services to those who need them.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
California
1,700
2016 Employment
1,800
2026 Employment
6%
Percent change
220
Annual projected job openings
United States
29,600
2018 Employment
30,300
2028 Employment
3%
Percent change
3,600
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors in San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationSan Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metro AreaUnited States
10%$32,850$29,050
25%$35,580$38,770
Median$39,590$52,650
75%$47,280$70,500
90%$60,980$89,050


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Associate's degree
  • No work experience
  • More than 1 year on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Gather information in order to provide services to clients.
  • Discuss service options or needs with clients.
  • Embalm corpses.
  • Direct funeral or mortuary activities.
  • Arrange facility schedules.
  • Provide counsel, comfort, or encouragement to individuals or families.
  • Maintain financial or account records.
  • Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
  • Handle caskets.
  • Train service staff.
  • Perform human resources activities.
  • Supervise service workers.
  • Provide escort or transportation.
  • Arrange items for use or display.
  • Clean facilities or work areas.
  • Usher patrons to seats or exits.
  • Promote products, services, or programs.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Obtain information needed to complete legal documents, such as death certificates or burial permits.
  • Consult with families or friends of the deceased to arrange funeral details, such as obituary notice wording, casket selection, or plans for services.
  • Perform embalming duties, as necessary.
  • Oversee the preparation and care of the remains of people who have died.
  • Contact cemeteries to schedule the opening and closing of graves.
  • Arrange for clergy members to perform needed services.
  • Provide information on funeral service options, products, or merchandise, and maintain a casket display area.
  • Offer counsel and comfort to bereaved families or friends.
  • Maintain financial records, order merchandise, or prepare accounts.
  • Plan, schedule, or coordinate funerals, burials, or cremations, arranging details such as floral delivery or the time and place of services.
  • Close caskets and lead funeral corteges to churches or burial sites.
  • Manage funeral home operations, including the hiring, training, or supervision of embalmers, funeral attendants, or other staff.
  • Direct preparations and shipment of bodies for out-of-state burial.
  • Inform survivors of benefits for which they may be eligible.
  • Provide or arrange transportation between sites for the remains, mourners, pallbearers, clergy, or flowers.
  • Plan placement of caskets at funeral sites or place or adjust lights, fixtures, or floral displays.
  • Discuss and negotiate prearranged funerals with clients.
  • Clean funeral home facilities and grounds.
  • Arrange for pallbearers or inform pallbearers or honorary groups of their duties.
  • Receive or usher people to their seats for services.
  • Participate in community activities for funeral home promotion or other purposes.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.