In recent years, the prospects of earning a good salary have increased tremendously for morticians, as their profession has gained recognition as a public service. It is a full-time demanding job and a mortician or funeral director may have to work in funeral homes and mortuaries for long durations. This article will not only provide you with the salary range for a mortician but will also give you more information about the career prospects of this job.
Mortician Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for morticians and funeral directors indicates an upward trend and is slated to increase by 18% (about as fast as average jobs) over the next decade.
The role of a mortician or funeral director has changed over the years. Today, morticians carry out a wide range of duties like cosmetic preparation of bodies for burial, embalming of the body, interacting with the family of the deceased, arranging logistics, venue booking and management for the funeral, handling the paperwork, etc. All this is done in accordance with the personal and religious beliefs of the deceased or their family. Morticians are doing a noble job by offering their services in various aspects of a funeral. All those who wish to make a career as a mortician must understand that this field is still not very competitive and the salary or working hours may not be consistent.
As per Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010, the median annual wage for funeral directors was $54,330 and that of funeral service workers was $33,600. It was observed that the lowest 10 percentile earned less than $29,890, while the top ten percentile earned higher than $98,340. If you view various salary ranges for jobs, you will find a common trend that the pay depends on many factors like the location of the job, work experience, educational qualifications, type of employer and organizational volume. It has been observed that organizational volume and educational qualifications may not be dominant factors, however, work experience and city location play a significant role in determining the salary. Let us see how the salary range varies from city to city.
State-wise Annual Salary
The location of working affects the salaries of morticians as their pay depends on the cost of living in the city. Similar to other jobs, the salary range for the mortician profile is higher in metro cities and urban places. The prime employers are generally the funeral homes and health care industries. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, about 92% mortician jobs were employed in funeral service industry. Following is a list of state-wise average salaries for a mortician as of March, 2013. All figures are in U.S. Dollars and can vary according to education, experience, location, and type of employer.
Duties of a Mortician
◘ Morticians undertake the cosmetic preparation or embalming of the body of the deceased.
◘ Morticians help the family members to choose burial clothes and casket for cremation or entombing of the body. They may also plan the wakes and memorial services.
◘ Funeral directors are expected to arrange for transportation of the dead body from funeral home and, schedule exact time and location of the funeral service. They also help in long distance transport or shipment of dead body to the burial-place.
◘ They may provide assistance in arranging for pallbearers and the clergy. Morticians also decorate and prepare the location of the funeral service by arranging flowers and may help the family to select music.
◘ Moreover, morticians may assist the deceased person’s family or dependents in getting social security benefits and death claims. They also assist in submission of necessary paperwork and legal documentation like obituaries or death certificates.
Educational Qualifications and Training
» It is essential for morticians to have an Associate degree in mortuary science. Or they can acquire two to four years of formal educational training from an American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accredited mortuary school. Apprenticeship can be done by students under the able guidance of a licensed mortician for a duration of one to three years.
» All the morticians need to possess a state license to practice. They have to appear for a qualifying exam to obtain the license. The laws for these licenses may vary from state to state. Membership of The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) will also prove helpful for those wishing to enter this field.
» Many morticians who wish to increase the prospects of their salary range can practice embalming. It is a hygienic and cosmetic process that preserves the dead body and prepares it for placing in the grave.
» Besides a degree in mortician science, one has to study courses like physiology, pathology, embalming techniques, restorative art, business management ethics, grief counseling, and computer usage. Students can also work part-time at a funeral home so that they can gain a better understanding of this field.
Desired Qualities and Skills
In addition to the qualifications and training, morticians have to ensure that they have essential personality traits like compassion and sympathy, as they may need to provide emotional support to the deceased person’s family. Morticians have to be polite, caring and must be able to empathize with the people who have lost their loved one. Apart from this, they need to possess multitasking skills, organization and planning skills, patience, interpersonal skills, public speaking skills, precision, time management, and counseling skills.
Morticians may be required to put in long hours of full-time work, and even operate post official hours and on weekends. Remember that the job of a mortician can be melancholic and quite stressful at times as he may be required to arrange and manage multiple funerals in a day’s time. Though this job poses a negligible health risk, it is advisable to follow all the safety norms. The prospects in this industry look better especially for morticians who are into embalming and have no problem in relocating.