Is Funeral Service Right for You?

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We strongly urge prospective students to meet with a funeral director in their community to discuss their interests and career goals. The Admissions Committee looks favorably towards applicants who have previous work experience in funeral service, and who can provide references from persons working in the field.

I chose to major in Mortuary Science because I was interested in doing something in the medical field. I also learned about the funeral services industry because my boy friend's father owns a funeral home. The more I learned about it, the more I realized that death is as much a part of life as birth is, and this is a field I’d like to work in. —Amanda S.

Funeral service is an incredibly rewarding career, but is also very demanding in terms of time commitments and work responsibilities. We believe—and experience has shown—that anyone considering entering this profession would be well served by working in the field for several months before applying for admission.

For additional information about a career in funeral service, the following resources are available:

Explore coursework

For those persons who might want to explore coursework within the major, it is possible to register for a select number of open courses as a non-matriculated student. Registration in these cases often occurs through the University’s College of Continuing Education. However, prospective students MUST still apply and be accepted into the major by the program’s Admissions Committee in order to earn a degree in mortuary science. For more information on registering for courses as a non-matriculated student please contact the program office at mortsci@umn.edu.

About the job market

The market for funeral directors at the present time is good. Due to anticipated retirements over the next decade, the outlook appears positive for employment in funeral service. People considering this career should remember, however, that with the exception of larger towns and metropolitan areas, most communities have only a small number of funeral establishments where employment opportunities might exist. It is not uncommon for people to relocate – sometimes at considerable distance - in order to find a job in funeral service that meets their professional career goals and lifestyle needs. It can be more difficult to find employment in larger metropolitan cities than smaller, more rural communities because of the desire of many college graduates to work in metropolitan – rather than rural – areas following the completion of their degree program and licensing requirements.

Explore current job opportunities

Average salary for funeral directors

According to data gathered from University of Minnesota program graduates and their employers in 2010 (the most recent year for which we have data), annual starting salaries for our graduates during their internship period immediately following graduation (note: most states require a one to two year internship/residency at a funeral home as part of the process of earning a funeral directors license) ranged from $24,000 to $46,000, and averaged about $32,500. Additional compensation data are published on the Bureau of Labor Statistics on-line Occupational Outlook Handbook. Compensation packages vary depending on job location, responsibilities, etc.