To some, working for a funeral home may seem like a suitable job for just anyone with an interest in the subject of death. However, it takes much more than a general curiosity for dead bodies. This is particularly true for those interested in becoming morticians.
Morticians, also often interchangeably called funeral directors or undertakers, can wear many hats throughout the course of a day and their working hours aren’t always set. Many morticians remain on call throughout the day and can sometimes work late into the evening and on holidays. Therefore, they must be passionate about what they do.
Many young people interested in entering the funeral industry are also surprised to learn that mortuary science is a constantly evolving field. New diseases and health issues have changed the way morticians handle dead bodies, and new regulations have been passed to protect workers and the public. An increase in mortality has also led to an increase in the number of morticians across the nation. In recent years, women have only made up a small percentage of morticians in Canada. According to 2011 National Household Survey data, women now make up 34% of jobs in the funerary industry, a 15% increase since 1991.
Duties of a Mortician
One of their most noted responsibilities includes the embalming and cosmetic preparation of bodies for service. Their main focus is to ensure that the body looks as respectable as possible, as it will be viewed by grieving family and friends.
Along with preparing bodies, funeral home morticians are also responsible for making arrangements, as well as meeting with the families of the deceased. These two jobs, in particular, require them to utilize social and organizational skills. Service arrangements could include taking care of duties that involve transportation, flowers, and even submitted legal paperwork on the behalf of the deceased. Not only must they be comforting and understanding, but funeral directors also have to be as flexible and accommodating as possible when it comes to the wishes of the families.
The Road to Becoming a Mortician
For those interested in actually working as a director of a funeral home, there are several steps that must be taken. First of all, a Diploma of College Studies in thanatology, mortuary sciences, or a similar degree is required. Some of the courses taken during college include business law, embalming, and grief counseling.
Once a degree is obtained, future morticians are then required to complete an internship or apprenticeship, that could take anywhere from one to three years to complete. This will allow them to obtain hands-on training by a licensed professional. After their internship, morticians have the option to join mortician corporations, which are not mandatory, but can be advantageous when pursuing a job in the industry.
Because of the many responsibilities that come along with being a mortician at a funeral home, this is not a job for those with just a passing interest in death. This is a serious job which can involve duties in embalming, consulting, event planning, and cosmetics, all in the same day.