Funeral directors and their staff arrange for funerals of the deceased. For each funeral, the director works with the family to carry out their wishes. He or she removes the deceased to the mortuary, prepares the body, arranges for the clergy and ceremony, and oversees the disposition of the remains. They are responsible for the minutiae of the ceremony - flower delivery, transporting the family to the burial site, obituary notices, and more. Funeral directors must have the ability to comfort and guide grieving family members.
Funeral homes are businesses, so directors also need a sound understanding of business principles. Courses in accounting, management, and sales can be helpful. Most funeral homes rent and/or sell caskets and urns, and many also help people prearrange funerals. Most directors are also licensed embalmers. Embalming is the most popular way of preparing the dead in this country. All states require embalmers to attend training, practice regularly, and pass difficult exams to keep up their licenses.
Funeral directors work long and irregular hours. Most are on-call to remove remains, even in the middle of the night. Directors must maintain a neat and professional appearance. They must also follow strict health regulations.
Opportunities for advancement are best in larger funeral homes. Many graduates work for such an establishment and, after years of saving and experience, are able to open their own funeral home. Employment prospects look good overall, especially since new morticians will be needed to replace an aging workforce.