Training for a Funeral Director Career

What are the basic requirements for becoming a funeral director?

Both funeral service education and licensing requirements vary by state. Most states request:

  • A high school diploma, or an equivalent GED
  • An Associate Degree in Funeral Service Education— sometimes a Bachelor’s Degree—from an accredited program.
  • An apprenticeship, typically lasting for one to three years
  • A passing mark on the national board examination and/or state licensing examination

Funeral Director Requirements:

Passed State Examination
After earning their license, funeral directors usually start their careers by becoming a staff member in a funeral home. If you are interested in becoming a funeral director, then make sure to review your state’s licensing board for full details and requirements.

There are currently 56 mortuary science programs that have accreditation from the American Board of Funeral Service Education. These programs are typically two to four years long.

State board licensing examinations differ from state to state, but are usually composed of oral and written sections and require candidates to demonstrate specific practical skills. If a funeral director wants to work in another state, he or she may have to pass that state’s examination.

Reciprocity arrangements do exist between some states; in such instances, funeral directors who change states will be granted a license without having to pass that state’s examinations.

Apprenticeships can be served before, during, or after mortuary school. The duration of apprenticeship varies according to state regulations, but they are one to three years long. Apprentices’ work alongside experienced and licensed funeral directors to gain practical experience in all aspects of the funeral service profession.

Personal Traits
Funeral directors should possess many critical personal traits, including tact, composure, and the ability to interact comfortably and communicate well with the public. Most importantly, funeral directors should want and be able to comfort people during times of grief appropriately.