New York State Funeral Directors Association

Due to the nature of funeral service, securing and maintaining a position within it has been traditionally regarded as fairly secure. There is always a need for well-trained funeral service professionals and employment opportunities are expected to grow.

Funeral directors are retiring in increasing numbers (more are age 55 and over compared with workers in other occupations), and the number of deaths are increasing with the aging of the American population.

The United States Department of Labor has noted that funeral directing is one of 76 occupations requiring post high school study that are projected to grow. And funeral service is personally rewarding. It is a career that commands respect and recognition.

There is one common thread that unites people who are interested in becoming funeral directors. They are compassionate people who wish to serve families and help them through a difficult time in their lives.

High school students who are contemplating a career in funeral service can prepare by taking courses in biology and chemistry, and participating in public speaking or debate clubs. After graduating from high school, students who are interested in pursuing a funeral service career should study for an associate degree granted by an institution accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). At least 60 semester credits are required; at least 25% in general, non-technical subjects. Many programs also require an internship at a funeral home.

Demand is great for graduates who have prepared themselves for funeral service management positions by selecting business and communication courses as part of their college studies. Careers in funeral service are also suitable for others who decide to change their vocations -- retirees, professionals and members of the medical profession such as nurses who are seeking a second career, or single moms who are looking for part time work.