Mortician Schools, Duties, and Salary Information
Working in the funeral industry might sound creepy to some, but many morticians love their jobs, and for good reason. Morticians work daily doing numerous tasks to help the grieving and give the deceased a respectful goodbye. A higher hourly wage along with a short training period make this a good career for those who want to help friends and family say farewell to their loved ones.
Here at BUO.net, we offer a small but comprehensive list of some of the more well known mortician schools around the nation. Check back often, as we continually update the list with new schools and universities over time. If you do not see a school that you believe should be listed, please use our contact form and let us know!
BUO’s Top Mortician Schools
Morticians must complete a mortuary science program by an accredited school. The American Board of Funeral Service Education has accredited 57 different programs throughout the nation. Some programs offer traditional on campus learning only while some offer distance learning. Students can located programs in their area via the ABFSE.
It is not possible to complete the entire program online. Clinicals must be performed either on campus or at a pre-approved location. Students should check with any distance learning schools to arrange this in advance before enrolling.
The top five schools for morticians include:
- Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science
- University of Minnesota
- Ivy Tech Community College
- Fayetteville Technical Community College
- Cyprus College
All of these schools are accredited by the ABFSE and have high pass rates both for the program and for those taking the National Board Examination.
1) The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science is one of seven accredited schools offering both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree program in mortuary science. Both are accelerated programs taking 12 and 15 months only. The school’s program offers a well rounded set of courses to prepare students for the business. They offer hands on training, clinical labs and more.
2) The University of Minnesota offers several locations throughout the state for the convenience of students. They offer a bachelor’s degree program and some classes may be taken online. The majority of classes must be taken on campus. Their program has existed since 1908 and was one of the first mortuary programs to be offered at a state university.
3) Ivy Tech Community College has several campuses throughout Indiana. They have a two step associate’s degree program. Students take the first portion of their courses at the main campuses before transferring to the Indianapolis or Chicago campuses for the mortuary classes. The college boasts a high pass rate for those taking the NBE the first time.
4) Fayetteville Technical Community College offers a combination of traditional and distance learn courses. They offer students an associate’s degree program. The two year program also includes hands on training and work based learning. Students are required to complete some courses on campus even when choosing a distance learning curriculum.
5) Cyprus College offers both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. Their current program director has worked in the industry and incorporates real world experience into the curriculum. The campus is located in California and provides a variety of mortuary science courses to fully prepare students for all areas of the industry.
Ensure any school chosen is accredited by the ABFSE. Employers do not accept degrees from non-accredited schools. It is possible to start with an associate’s degree and work as a mortician while continuing to earn a bachelor’s. Some employers may pay higher or offer higher positions for continuing the education.
Morticians often work long and random hours preparing funerals and bodies. The majority work in crematories or funeral homes. They are usually on call and work full time. An average day typically consists of speaking with grieving relatives, arranging for bodies to be transported, preparing remains and filing paperwork.
The average workload varies greatly based on the location and general population in the area. It also depends on the number of funeral homes in the same area. They usually work with a small number of other employees and may only work with the public directly during the planning of funeral services.
It can be a demanding job dealing with distraught family members and friends. Some enjoy helping the bereaved during their time of need. They also enjoy the variety of people they encounter. One mortician admitted it is sometimes a surprising career as one never knows what to expect from families or the deceased. The mortician stated it is important to do what is best for the person and family at all times.
Most funeral details are taken care of within three days, making this a often stressful career. It is not uncommon to work with multiple bodies and funerals in a single day. Some morticians find establishing friendships and relationships with others in the same industry helps.
The job itself is not dangerous though some bodies may be diseased. Morticians must be aware of all the latest safety regulations to prevent any accidents. Those working in crematories must also wear protective clothing.
The career outlook is good for morticians. The baby boomers make up a large portion of the population and they are aging. This has caused demand for morticians to rise. There is an expected increase of 12% between 2012 and 2022. This is projected increase of 2,800 jobs or a total of 26,300 by 2022.
Many individuals want to plan their funerals in advance. There is an extra need of morticians to fill this growing trends of individuals wishing to plan their own funerals. Guidance is necessary to help people work through all these final details before their death.
The best outlook is for those who also take the time to become licensed as an embalmer and funeral director. This creates additional career opportunities and allows the individual to take on multiple roles if necessary.
Morticians make a respectable yearly salary that averages around $46,840 as of 2012. They can expect to make anywhere from $26,580 to $80,900 per year. It is not unusual for them to also earn overtime during busy times. Factors such as state, qualifications and previous experience determine the final yearly salary. Some employers may also offer bonuses.
Some states pay far more on average than others. The top five highest paying states for morticians include:
- Illinois – $75,240
- Maryland – $72,470
- Connecticut – $71,470
- California – $67,860
- Michigan – $66,150
The lowest paying states include:
- Kansas – $34,540
- Mississippi – $35,860
- Louisiana – $37,280
- Alabama – $37,680
- Arkansas – $38,750
This does not mean every funeral home or crematory in these states pay those amounts. Some cities in lower paying states could pay much more if demand is high. Employers offering the opportunity for advancement often usually offer higher pay rates for higher positions. Additional education and licensing can also help increase the yearly salary.
Training And Education
Becoming a mortician takes between two to five years. There are usually at least two minimum requirements. The first is earning an associate’s degree in mortuary science. The second is a one year apprenticeship. These are only the minimum requirements and some states and employers may require more.
Mortuary science programs include courses in grief counseling, ethics, embalming, restorative techniques, business law and funeral services. The programs are designed to prepare students to become morticians, funeral directors, undertakers and funeral service managers.
Some employers do require morticians to have a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. This is not common. Most accept a two year program along with an apprenticeship. Those with a bachelor’s degree may not be required to stay in an apprenticeship as long.
Students may choose to start their apprenticeship with another mortician at any point before, during or after their formal education. Some employers and states may require up to a three year apprenticeship. These are designed to provide hands-on experience in the industry.
Morticians may seek a license as an embalmer or funeral director after completing their education. All states require a license for these two positions expect for Colorado. A license is not required to become a mortician.
Most funeral homes and crematories will not hire a person full time until they are 21. This is to ensure the individual has had enough time to get their degree, complete an apprenticeship and handle the emotional side of the job. Aspiring morticians can start their apprenticeships before they turn 21.