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Basic Description
Morticians are involved in serving the public in all aspects of funeral service and in preparing the human dead for the funeral, burial and sometimes, cremation. Morticians may arrange for removal of the body to the funeral home, obtain information for the obituary and death certificate and arrange the time and place of the funeral service.


- Help family members make decision regarding the deceased:


  • Arrange for deceased to be transported when necessary
  • Arrange for selected items to be in place at the correct time
  • Contact any performers who may provide music for the service
  • Contact clergy
  • Dressing the body
  • May provide actual services
  • Obtains burial permits, cremation permits, shipping permits
  • Performs full embalming procedures
  • Place body in casket
  • Reshape parts of the body that may have been damaged during course of death. Cotton, clay, plaster and wax are commonly used.
  • Selecting the casket, music, lighting, clothing, flowers and anything else the family may wish.
  • Usually knowledgeable in areas of insurance, survivor's benefits, social security and other death benefits.

Embalming Defined: A sanitary, cosmetic, and preservative process through which the body is prepared for the burial or for long periods of viewing before cremation. This process is the washing of the deceased body with a special germicidal soap and then dries it. Tubes are inserted in the body to draw the blood and then replace the blood with embalming fluid to preserve the body. All of this is done in a laboratory-type room under similar standards as a typical laboratory. Laboratory must meet all health standards.
Working Conditions

  • Average work-week: More than 40 hours
  • Expected to work days, evenings, weekends, holidays
  • Long, Irregular hours
  • Usually on-call on a regular basis

Morticians must have an appropriate wardrobe to show proper respect and consideration for the families and the dead. Suits, ties and dresses are customary for a conservative look.

Training, Licenses, Experience

  • Every state requires a license except Colorado.
  • Must be at least 21 years old in most states
  • 2 or more years in mortuary science
  • 1 year of resident training or apprenticeship
  • If you are going to be an embalmer, you must be licensed in the state you will practice in
  • Several colleges and universities offer at least some type of mortuary science programs. These last usually 2-4 years

Recommended Classes:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Embalming techniques
  • Restoration arts
  • Business management
  • Computers
  • Some sort of personnel courses. Speech or Debate

This job description can also be found in Word form here


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