Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers
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Overview
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Perform various tasks to arrange and direct individual funeral services, such as coordinating transportation of body to mortuary, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, aiding with the selection of officials for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.
Titles for this career often contain these words
FuneralMorticianCounselorDirectorPrearrangementLicensedCertifiedArrangementArrangerLocationManagerPlannerPlanningSpecialistNeedConsultantPrearrangementHospitalUndertaker
Education
Only 38% of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers have bachelor's degrees than 59% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers, with 29,600 workers, form a smaller workforce than 66% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers are expected to grow by 3%, and should have about 3,600 job openings a year.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers earn.
$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Gender
Women account for 27% of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers -- that's a smaller percentage than 59% of other jobs.
Gender of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers, the median men's salary was 27% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 14% of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers are minority, and 3% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (3%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (89%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (80%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (78%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (63%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (58%)
  • Consequence of Error (54%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (46%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (34%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers (BLS Salary Data)
$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers (ACS Salary Data)
$53K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$53K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers.
Employers of Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers (ACS)
Private for-profit (77.9%)
Private not-for-profit (1.8%)
Local government (0.7%)
State government (0.4%)
Federal government (1.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (13.5%)
Self-employed not incorporated (4.4%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$53K$52K$70K$45K$55K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$54K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$45K$55K$54K$66K$51K$54K$52K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
01K2K3K4K5K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers and gender

With 27% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 59% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
27%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
Men (73%)
Women (27%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers tops that, with the median salary for men 27% higher than the median salary for women.

$43K$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 76% of other jobs.

27%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers than for 78% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
White (85% )
Black (11% )
Multiracial (1% )
Asian (1% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
3%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$38K$38K$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KOtherBlackWhite
Distribution: Salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers by nativity
$53K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 9% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 58% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

We only have enough data to accuarately show the salary distribution for full-time workers.

$53K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers typically hold a associate's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

An associate’s degree in funeral service or mortuary science is the typical education requirement for all funeral service workers. Courses taken usually include those covering the topics of ethics, grief counseling, funeral service, and business law. All accredited programs also include courses in embalming and restorative techniques.

The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accredits 60 funeral service and mortuary science programs, most of which are 2-year associate’s degree programs offered at community colleges. Some programs offer a bachelor’s degree.

Although an associate’s degree is typically required, some employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

High school students can prepare to become a funeral service worker by taking courses in biology, chemistry, and business, and by participating in public speaking.

Part-time or summer jobs in funeral homes also provide valuable experience.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Most workers must be licensed in Washington, DC and every state in which they work, except Colorado, which offers a voluntary certification program. Although licensing laws and examinations vary by state, most applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Complete an ABFSE accredited funeral service or mortuary science program
  • Pass a state and/or national board exam
  • Serve an internship lasting 1 to 3 years

Working in multiple states will require multiple licenses. For specific requirements, applicants should contact each applicable state licensing board.

Most states require funeral directors to earn continuing education credits annually to keep their licenses.

The Cremation Association of North America (CANA); International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA); and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) offer crematory certification designations. Many states require certification for those who will perform cremations. For specific requirements, applicants should contact their state board or one of the above organizations.

Education attained by morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers? Below we see the distribution of morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers salaries based on the education attained.

$32K$42K$55K$56K$51K$60K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KHigh School (7%)Some College (17%)Associate's/Cert. (37%)Bachelor's Degree (31%)Master's Degree (4%)Professional Degree (3%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.10.20.30.4
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Arrangers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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