Despite the long hours, challenging work and emotional sufferings of clients, being a funeral director has some common rewards. Also known as morticians or undertakers, funeral directors normally work in funeral homes. With a minimum of an associate's degree in mortuary science and a state license, you can start your own funeral service business or be a director in another home.
Stability and Strong Pay
You won't find a career with much more stability than that of funeral director. People die every day and funeral home demand is constant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that demand for director jobs will grow 18 percent from 2010 to 2020. Median 2010 annual income for funeral directors was also solid at $54,330, according to the bureau. You can often make more by owning your own business.
Family and Community Impact
A funeral director has a tremendous opportunity to provide comfort, support and closure for family and friends of a deceased person. In its description of "The Funeral Service Career," Randolph Community College notes that the term "traditional" is a bit of a misnomer in funeral services. Passionate directors typically prefer to accommodate the needs and requests of the family. In small communities, funeral directors provide an anchor business for citizens. Families know they have a place to meet the deceased's wishes and offer a celebration of life for friends.
Though you can hardly compare directing a funeral to coordinating a wedding or party, it is similar from an event-planning perspective. As a funeral director, you manage virtually all aspects of the funeral experience. This often begins with family meetings to decide on a casket, service location, program and burial site. On the day of a funeral, the director normally coordinates guest arrival and seating and reviews the program with the officiant. If you have passions for both comforting family members who lost loved ones and planning events, funeral director is a great career option.
In a February 2011 "AOL Jobs" article, funeral director Alexandra K. Mosca noted that the public assumes the funeral director will match the dark and grim characters depicted in movies. Mosca indicated that the opportunity to personally impact people's lives during one of their most challenging times was part of her motive to get into the career. Historically, funeral directing has been a family business passed through generations. However, Mosca noted that many directors learn the value of their jobs from childhood experiences. They see firsthand the benefit of an effective and caring funeral director when losing a loved one themselves.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.