Morticians, sometimes called undertakers or funeral directors, help mourners plan the details of funerals and manage the day-to-day operations of funeral homes. To become a mortician, a candidate must obtain an associate degree in mortuary science, complete a formal apprenticeship that typically lasts from one to three years and obtain a license from the state in which he plans to practice.
National Pay Scale
Figures published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state that the median pay for morticians as of May 2012 was $46,840 a year. This means that half of all morticians earned less and the other half earned more. The 50 percent of morticians whose earnings most closely aligned with the median pay made between $35,350 and $62,760 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $26,580 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent made $80,900 or more per year.
National Average Pay
As of 2012, morticians across the United States reported an average approximate wage of $25.33 an hour and an average annual salary of $52,690. Nearly all morticians worked in private funeral homes, where they averaged $25.19 an hour and $52,390 per year. A few morticians worked for the federal government, however, and reported very high average pay rates of $34.31 an hour and $71,370 per year.
Pay Averages by State
According to the BLS, morticians working in the Southwest, Northeast and Great Lakes regions earned the highest average salaries in 2012. Those in Illinois earned the highest average salary, $75,240 per year, followed by morticians working in Maryland, who averaged $72,470 per year. Other high-paying states for this occupation included Connecticut at $71,470, California at $67,860 and Michigan at $66,150. Morticians in the Southeast tended to earn the lowest average rates of pay, though Kansas reported the very lowest average salary, $34,540.
While it may be sound morbid, the decade between 2010 and 2020 is a good time to become a funeral director. Largely because of the baby boom generation, America's aging population has never been bigger, which means a greater need for funeral services as baby boomers die in greater numbers. The BLS expects about 5,300 new jobs for morticians to be created by 2020. Job prospects will be best for candidates who get a bachelor's degree in mortuary science and for those trained to embalm bodies.
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