Upon the death of a person, relatives of the deceased rely on the services of morticians, often referred to as undertakers, funeral directors or embalmers, in preparing the deceased and facilitating the disposal of the body, apart from helping the survivors to arrange funeral and burial services. Having to perform various tasks in different settings; funeral directors are required to have academic qualifications and must show experience to bear on the various tasks that they will have to do on a daily basis.
Selecting a Mortician School
There are not many schools in different states that offer mortuary science courses and prospective morticians have limited choices in regard to their decision on what schools to attend base on accreditation and location. The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accords accreditation to mortuary schools and potential candidates should seek colleges and courses that are accredited by this organization, which is the only one that is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (www.abfse.org) and the U.S. Department of Education.
Prospective morticians must verify whether the state in which they seek employment has any additional prerequisites. A list of licensing boards in various states have been provided by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) at its website; the information includes prerequisites in each state for employment as a funeral director and embalmer (source: (www.nfda.org)). Morticians are required in some states to complete service or apprenticeship before being allowed to become funeral directors and students will benefit by verifying whether the school of their choice satisfies such requirements of the states.
Aspiring embalmers, funeral directors and morticians are advised to verify whether the school of their choice assists with job placements and satisfaction of state licensure requirements relating to internships. Prospective students seeking admission to mortuary science courses at some schools are likely to be interviewed and are required to submit to background checks. Owing to the nature of the occupation, class sizes and courses are usually small. Apart from small lectures, students will be given on-the-job training in labs. There is a rigid curriculum for mortuary science students; the course work is rigorous as conforming to state prerequisites and NFDA and ABFSE standards.
An Overview of Mortician Programs
Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science
An A.A.S program normally takes two in a half to four years to complete. Students are required to have satisfied general education prerequisites before they are allowed to enroll in an A.A.S course, most of which require prospective students to have completed basic courses in anatomy, accounting and psychology. Mortuary science coursework includes the provision of additional training in business and sciences, and covers counseling, mortuary law and management, restorative art and embalming, and pathology and microbiology.
Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science
A B.S. program generally takes four years to complete. Over the first two years, students are required to satisfy general education prerequisites. They spend the last two years doing coursework relating to the mortuary science program. Coursework provides students with training in classrooms and labs apart from preparing them to take the National Board Examination. The curriculum covers management and law, merchandising, marketing, pathology and chemistry, anatomy, restorative art and embalming, funeral service and history.