Mortuary service is an industry that never experiences recession, making it an ideal choice for someone looking for job security. To become a funeral director or embalmer (or both), one must be licensed, and though licensure requirements vary from state to state, most require completion of an accredited program, a one or two year apprenticeship, and passing of the Funeral Service National Board Examination (NBE). The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) is the only US Department of Education-approved accrediting agency for funeral service programs.
When selecting a school, a student should consider their career goals and decide whether to pursue a diploma program, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree. One should ask about the school's NBE pass rate, since licensure will not occur without a passing score. Things to look for in a program include a diverse curriculum that covers business management, psychology/counseling, marketing/public relations, and computer skills, in addition to the traditional mortuary classes. Hands-on, practical experience, as well as field trips and guest lectures are also great supplementary tools that help keep an education well-rounded.