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Career Profile: Funeral Director

Why Is Funeral Direction a Job of Tomorrow?
Seventy percent of the people who died in the U.S. were casketed and some form of ceremony was performed to go along with the mourning process, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Funeral services are costly and complex to orchestrate, and directors will be needed to ensure that they run smoothly. Employment opportunities for funeral directors are expected to increase 12 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Funeral directors make an average salary of $49,620 annually.

What Does a Funeral Director Do?
Funeral directors are responsible for handling burial ceremonies. As burial traditions vary among cultures, funeral directors must be sensitive and mindful of honoring the wishes of the deceased's family. Funeral directors handle all of the details of the services, such as the location, date and time. They also prepare obituary notices for newspapers, as well as arrange hearse services, pallbearers and clergy, and transportation for the mourners and grave decorations between the funeral home and grave site. Funeral directors can also organize for a body to be prepared for an out-of-state burial if the family wishes for the deceased to be buried elsewhere. Many funeral directors are also trained in embalming, a process that preserves the deceased's body between death and burial. After embalming a body, funeral directors take care of the aesthetic appearance of the deceased, arranging his or her clothing and applying cosmetics to give a more natural appearance. After the ceremony, funeral directors submit the required paperwork necessary to obtain a death certificate for the deceased, as well as assist the family in arranging for insurance claims.

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What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Funeral Director?
Funeral directors must be licensed, have two years of formal education in funeral services, complete a one-year apprenticeship and pass an examination. Prospective directors should plan on attending college for at least two years to earn an education in mortuary science. Mortuary science courses include anatomy, pathology and embalming techniques. Licensure requirements vary by state.