The top 10 percent of all morticians in the United States earned more than $97,200 per year, according to May 2011 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals, who are also known as undertakers or funeral directors, run funeral homes and crematories and prepare the deceased for funeral services and burial. Many follow parents or relatives into the field and are familiar with the lifestyle from childhood.
Average Salary & Benefits
Morticians earned an average annual salary of $61,460 as of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than $29,490 annually. Many morticians are self-employed and pay for their own benefits. Those employed by funeral home owners usually receive health insurance, paid time off and pension plans.
Salary by Region
A mortician's salary can vary significantly by region. They tend to make more in some of the East Coast states. For example, they earned the highest annual salaries in New York at $83,730, according to the bureau's information; and the second highest in New Jersey at $79,600 per year. These professionals also earned relatively high salaries of $73,830 in Massachusetts. Their salaries were closer to the national average in Florida and Pennsylvania: $61,880 and $60,530 per year, respectively. And those in Texas and Kansas made significantly lower salaries of $49,840 and $39,920 per year, respectively.
Education and Qualifications
The minimum educational requirement for a mortician is an associate degree in mortuary science, though an increasing number of funeral homes are demanding bachelor's degrees. Those who know they want to become morticians at a young age should take science courses, such as biology and chemistry. These professionals must study grief counseling, embalming and funeral home operations through a university accredited by the American Board of Funeral Services Education, or ABFSE. They then enter a one- to three-year apprenticeship with a licensed mortician. Morticians must gain a state license before they can practice independently. And they must continue learning the latest techniques of mortuary science through educational facilities to maintain their licensed status.
Jobs for morticians are expected to increase 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the bureau. This rate of job growth is somewhat faster than the average growth of 14 percent expected for careers in general. Increasing death rates among aging baby boomers will spur an increase in demand for this field. Those retiring from the field will provide additional opportunities for those just entering the profession.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Funeral Directors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics: Funeral Service Managers, Directors, Morticians, and Undertakers
- StateUniversity.com: Funeral Director Job Description, Career as a Funeral Director, Salary, Employment -- Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job