If you are a compassionate person and people warm up to you easily. If you have a good emotional quotient and have the fortitude to stand tall in difficult situations. You have the essential qualities to consider pursuing mortuary science and becoming a mortician.
Besides, managing your time well and knowing the laws and ethics of funeral services will add boon. But you shouldn't mistake this with forensic science. While both studies deal with dead bodies, you will be dealing with only the body's external as a mortician. In contrast, forensic science deals with the internal examination of the deceased to determine the cause of death.
What Will You Do?
Mortuary science is the study of deceased bodies; you'll constantly be working in the shadows of death – from moving the body to a mortuary, getting the remains ready for the funeral ceremony, performing the rites as per the family's wishes, and after that making arrangements for the disposing of the body.
Mortuary Science Study Programs
Typically, mortuary science study programs take 2-4 years with either an associate or Bachelor's degree. An associate degree program usually comprises basic biological knowledge of the human body and treatment of the deceased and a few classes that deal with grief and business practices. The Bachelor's degree course is more elaborate and will prepare you in all aspects to become a well-versed professional.
Admission Requirement for Mortuary Science Programs
For a degree course, while some colleges may be lenient in admission requirements, some others will need applicants to fulfill the following basic conditions:
- A minimum high school score GPA of 2.50
- A minimum 'C' grade in all programs before applying for the course
- TOEFL if English isn't your first language
The program usually comprises a basic liberal arts syllabus, study of the deceased's human anatomy, and treatment. It also includes learning about the funeral business and the psychology of people in mourning, so you are well-prepared to support the grieving.
What are courses in the Mortuary science program?
Some of the courses in the program are:
- Business Law
- Funeral Service History
- Funeral Service Administration, Ethics and Laws
- Funeral Directing
- Methods of Disposition
- Fundamentals of Cremation
- Restorative Art
- Counseling and Grief Psychology
Many colleges require students to apprentice before completion of the course. As an apprentice, you will have to work with a licensed and experienced funeral director to gain experience in all aspects of the funeral service. Even after you have graduated with a Bachelor's degree in mortuary science, you will still need to acquire a license to set up your own funeral service.
The prerequisites for this are:
- You should be at least 21 years old
- Minimum 2 years education in mortuary science
- 1-year apprenticeship
The exams for licensure include a written test and a demonstration of skills in the service. Furthermore, many states in the USA expect funeral directors to continuously participate in a continuing education program to maintain their licenses. With a degree in mortuary science and a permit, you can become a funeral director and mortician.
What are some colleges that provide a Mortuary Science degree?
Some of the best colleges that offer programs in mortuary science are:
- University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
- Community College of Baltimore County
- Eastern Iowa Community College
- Gannon University
- Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS)
How you will pursue a career after completing the degree
After completing the mortuary science degree, you can work on the various designation. These designations include Funeral Director, Funeral Embalmer, Mortician, Apprentice Funeral Director, and many more. The salary of each profession is different, but as per payscale.com, in the USA, you will earn $52,052 per year on average after completing this degree.