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What is a Funeral Director?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects associated with funeral service.


Funeral directors:

  • Provide support to the bereaved during initial stages of their grief.
  • Arrange and direct funeral ceremonies.
  • Arrange for removal of the deceased from the place of death.
  • Prepare the body according to the wishes of the survivors and requirements of the law.
  • Secure information for legal documents.
  • File death certificates and other legal papers.
  • Assist survivors with details for filing claims for death benefits.
  • Help individuals adapt to changes in their lives following a death through post-death counseling and support group activities.

Education Requirements
Education requirements vary by state. Following are the basic educational requirements for most states:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Graduation from an accredited program requires the completion of an associates degree, or its equivalent, and, within the credits earned for the associate degree, the completion of approximately 45 credits specifically in mortuary science. 
  • An internship or apprenticeship ranging from one to three years.
  • Passing a state and/or national board licensing examination.

Licensing Requirements
Licensing requirements vary by state. Some states also require funeral directors to meet continuing education requirements to maintain licensure. Click here for a complete listing of licensing boards and requirements by state.

With 20,915 funeral homes in the United States, there is always a need for well-trained funeral service professionals. Demand is great for graduates who have prepared themselves for management positions by selecting business and communications courses as part of their college program.

Click here for more information on the funeral service profession.