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2021 Funeral & Mortuary Science Degree Guide

Experiencing the death of a family member or loved one is difficult and emotional for most people. Families and friends rely on funeral directors to arrange services and handle the logistics of the funeral. If you are a compassionate person who would like to provide this personal service, consider majoring in Funeral and Mortuary Science.

In this major, you will take classes in embalming, funeral service management, biology, chemistry, and psychology to learn everything from handling the funeral to preparing legal documents to consulting with the family. It is just as important to understand how to prepare the deceased and run a funeral home and it is to speak with families with tact and understanding. Those involved in the funeral services industry are providing a personal service to the community and must learn how to deal with this delicate matter.

Along with the option to major in general Funeral Service and Mortuary Science, students have the option to specialize in areas such as Funeral Service or Mortuary Science and Embalming.

Funeral & Mortuary Science Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#211 Most Popular Major
2k Degrees Awarded
-3.1% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, funeral and mortuary science was the 211th most popular major nationwide with 1,965 degrees awarded. This represents a 3.1% reduction in mortuary science degrees awarded over the prior year's total of -2,025.

Approximately 62 colleges in the U.S. offer a funeral and mortuary science degree of some kind. Explore this or one of our many other custom mortuary science rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Funeral & Mortuary Science

Since most Funeral and Mortuary Science professional work with grieving family members, strong interpersonal skills are a must. Death can be very emotional, making compassion a top priority for those pursuing a career in this professional. Time management and organization are other required skills since professionals are often working with multiple families at once.

A career within Funeral and Mortuary Science is a full time job. Funeral directors often work long hours, nights, and on weekends to ensure arrangements are properly made and all details are complete. This career is often stressful as funerals are often arranged within a few days after death.

The requirements to become licensed as a funeral director vary from state to state, so it is best to contact the licensing board of the state you intend to practice in when choosing between programs to ensure you are fulfilling all requirements. Typically, students must have at least 2 years in an American Board of Funeral Service Education certified program and complete a 1-3 year internship after graduation before taking a licensing exam. The licensing exam may be state administered or be a national board exam. Although the length of the internship and type of exam vary, both aspects are required.

Getting Accepted Into a Funeral & Mortuary Science Program

funeral and mortuary science degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic funeral and mortuary science program qualifications, to serve in some mortuary science careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Funeral & Mortuary Science Degree Types

There are various different levels of mortuary science degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a bachelor's in funeral and mortuary science to something that takes less time like a associate's. The time it takes to complete a mortuary science degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

An associate's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to mortuary science, with approximately 60.6% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for mortuary science workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 64.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 13.5%
Post-Secondary Certificate 9.4%
First Professional Degree 4.5%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 4.0%

About 86.4% of workers in careers related to mortuary science obtain at least associate's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in funeral and mortuary science have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the mortuary science career you are seeking.

Mortuary Science Careers

Below Average Number of Jobs
$33.1k Average Starting Salary
5% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Almost all graduates with a degree in Funeral and Mortuary Science go into the funeral services industry. Graduates often pursue a career as a funeral director or embalmer. The economy does not play a large role in the need for funeral services, so jobs in this field grow at a steady pace. Graduates who are willing to relocate or have the skills to embalm should find jobs quickly.

Growth Projected for Mortuary Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your mortuary science degree? Funeral & Mortuary Science careers are expected to grow 5.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to funeral and mortuary science.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors 29,800 3.8%
Funeral Service Managers 27,500 7.0%
Embalmers 3,700 0.0%

How Much Money Do People With a Mortuary Science Degree Make?

Recently graduated funeral and mortuary science students earned an average of $33,096 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $8,100 to as high as $45,300. As you might expect, salaries for mortuary science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Mortuary Science Majors

Salaries for funeral and mortuary science graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers mortuary science grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Funeral Service Managers $93,820
Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors $57,620
Embalmers $46,640

Getting Your Funeral & Mortuary Science Degree

With over 115 different mortuary science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased mortuary science school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Funeral & Mortuary Science

Funeral & Mortuary Science is one of 3 different types of Personal & Culinary Services programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Mortuary Science

Related Major Annual Graduates
Cosmetology 103,674
Culinary Arts 26,675
Other Personal & Culinary Services 320

View All Mortuary Science Related Majors >


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