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Funeral Directors - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Advancement opportunities generally are best in companies with multiple funeral homes. Funeral directors working for these companies may earn promotions to higher paying positions such as branch manager or general manager. Some directors eventually acquire enough money and experience to establish their own funeral home businesses.

Funeral directors held about 30,000 jobs in 2008. About 13 percent were self-employed. Nearly all worked in the death care services industry.

Job Outlook
Employment growth is expected to be as fast as average for all occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be good, particularly for funeral directors who also embalm.

Job Growth
Employment of funeral directors is expected to increase by 12 percent during the 2008-18 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected job growth reflects growth in the death care services industry overall due to the aging of the population.

In addition to employment growth, the need to replace funeral directors who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons will result in good job opportunities. Funeral directors are older, on average, than workers in most other occupations and are expected to retire in greater numbers over the coming decade. In addition, some funeral directors leave the profession because of the long and irregular hours. Job prospects may also be better for some mortuary science graduates who can relocate to get a job.

Median annual wages for funeral directors were $52,210 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,980 and $69,680. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,910 and the top 10 percent earned more than $92,940.

Salaries of funeral directors depend on the number of years of experience in funeral service, the number of services performed, the number of facilities operated, the area of the country, and the director's level of formal education. Funeral directors in large cities usually earn more than their counterparts in small towns and rural areas.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Funeral Director
The Funeral Director Program teaches a student how to disinfect, preserve, prepare or restore human remains. The program also teaches them how to enter into funeral contract, arrange, conduct or direct bereavement rites and ceremonies. The Funeral Director Program also teaches a student how to arrange ...more