Funeral Home Workers

The funeral director, also called a mortician or undertaker, handles all the arrangements for burial and funeral services of the deceased, in accordance with the family's wishes. This includes the removal of the body to the funeral home, securing information and filing for the death certificate, and organizing the service and burial plans. The director also supervises the personnel who prepare bodies for burial. A growing number of funeral directors are also working with clients who wish to plan their own funerals in advance. An embalmer uses chemical solutions to disinfect, preserve, and restore the body and employs cosmetic aids to simulate a lifelike appearance. A mortuary science technician works under the direction of a funeral director to perform embalming and related funeral service tasks. Most are trainees working to become licensed embalmers and funeral directors. 

Funeral attendants are responsible for various tasks, including placing the casket in the funeral parlor or chapel before services, organizing flower arrangements and lighting around the casket, escorting mourners during viewings and services, closing the casket, and storing funeral equipment after services are complete.

Funeral home workers are employed throughout the world in small communities as well as large metropolitan areas. Because cultures and religions affect burial customs, funeral home workers must be sensitive and knowledgeable to these differences.

There are approximately 25,470 morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors in the United States. Funeral attendants hold another 35,290 jobs, and there are about 3,710 embalmers. 

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Embalmers, Funeral Attendants, Funeral Directors, Morticians, Mortuary Cosmetologists, Mortuary Science Technicians, Undertakers
Duties Handle all the arrangements for burial and funeral services of the deceased; embalm the deceased or transport bodies to crematoriums; manage the business operations of funeral homes
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
  • Apprenticeship
  • Associate's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
Experience One to three years of experience as an apprentice
Personality Traits
  • Enterprising
  • Organized
  • Social
  • Business Management
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Funeral Home Owner
  • Funeral Director
  • Embalmer
  • Mortuary Science Technician
  • Funeral Attendant