How to Become a Funeral Director Online

Dec 05, 2019

Funeral directors are responsible for planning, arranging, and organizing many of the details and proceedings of a funeral service. Explore the career of funeral directing itself as well as steps you can take online to prepare for this career.

Funeral Director Career Information

The duties of a funeral director can include organizing the transportation of the casket, instructing pallbearers, and coordinating the procession to the gravesite. Funeral directors might also be responsible for drafting obituary notices, scheduling clergy services, and handling paperwork for survivors, as well as arranging or performing embalming services, or coordinating with cremation services. Because the funeral director career typically involves in-person training, it can be relatively difficult to prepare for utilizing solely online resources.

Required Skills Empathy, communication skills, business skills
Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% (for all funeral service workers)*
Median Salary (2018) $57,580 (for all funeral service workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Funeral Director Online

Funeral directors typically need to complete focused education in the subject of funeral services, prepare for and pass a state or national licensing exam, and complete an internship or mentorship. All of the following steps can be completed using online resources, except for the often required in-person training/mentorship.

Step 1: Complete a Funeral Services Program

The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) has a list of 17 approved schools that offer distance learning opportunities for the completion of an accredited program leading to licensure. These specialized programs will help you to learn the knowledge and skills required in the field of funeral services and mortuary sciences, focusing on topics such as public health, business management, legality, ethics, and regulations within the industry. These programs, which typically lead to an associate's degree, aim to steer students toward licensure, and also open up opportunities for completing a bachelor's degree in the field.

Step 2: Pass the Licensure Exam

Those wishing to be funeral directors must be 21 years old. Each state board will have its own set of requirements and examinations for licensure. You will likely have to be licensed in Washington DC, as well as in each state in which you intend to work. Colorado is one exception. Certification in the state of Colorado is voluntary; therefore if you want to work in Colorado, either part or full time, licensure is not required, but it can help you secure employment. Preparing for your state's or states' licensure exams will involve looking up the details from the state board of your specific state and completing all requirements. Your state might also give information on the exam, including sample questions, subject areas, and information on the exam process itself, which you can use to further prepare for taking the test.

Step 3: Consider Completing a Bachelor's Degree Program

Although not required, employers prefer to hire candidates who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree program, and, since funeral director is not typically an entry-level position, a bachelor's degree can be helpful in terms of advancement. These programs are also available online and will offer further education in this field. Since most working in the funeral services industry hold associate's degrees, this degree is aimed toward those who are already working professionals in the field, as well as those wishing to complete further education.

Step 4: Complete an Apprenticeship

Those wishing to work as funeral directors will typically need to complete a 1- to 3-year apprenticeship. To begin an apprenticeship you must first fill out an apprenticeship registration form with copies of high school and college transcripts and exam scores. During your apprenticeship you can learn first-hand about the funeral industry and the specific tasks and expectations of a funeral director. This period of training can also call for work to be submitted to the state for evaluation, including written reports on funeral services laws and other funeral services-related subjects.

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