What skills will I have as a graduate of a Mortuary Science Degree Program

posted November 8th, 2011 by admin

A mortuary science degree enables the graduate to work as a funeral director, also referred to as a mortician, or an embalmer. Programs in mortuary science teach skills including the art and science of preparing the body of the deceased as well as counseling and communication with family members. In addition, most programs teach the business side of mortuary science including accounting and legal requirements for funeral directors.


After completion of a mortuary science degree, graduates choose from several career paths, including that of embalmer. Embalmers prepare the body of the deceased to stave off the decomposition processes resulting from death. Embalming requires careful use of chemicals and intimate handling of the deceased’s body to prepare the body for viewing by the family. In cases where the deceased’s body is in poor condition due to traumatic injury or another cause, the embalmer uses scientific skills to restore the body to a lifelike appearance.


Art and cosmetic skills are taught in mortuary science programs so that the graduate can expertly prepare the deceased’s body for viewing by family members, friends and the public. Depending on the circumstances of death, making a lifelike portrait of the deceased’s body can be a difficult and time consuming process. The mortician must be skilled at correcting the lips, skin tone and facial expression of the deceased. Hair styling is another art form practiced by morticians. Other visible body parts including the ears, neck and hands of the deceased often require cosmetic work, carefully done by the mortician.


Work in mortuary science ironically requires people skills. Graduates of these programs learn interpersonal communication skills that are used when speaking with family members of the deceased. The family members and friends of the deceased express strong emotions when planning a funeral service, including grief, denial, anger, shock, betrayal, distress, guilt, irritability and heartache. Because different people deal with grief in different ways, people who work in mortuary science must be attuned to these differences when communicating with the close family members and friends of the deceased.

Business and Legal

Graduates of Mortuary Science Degree programs learn necessary business and accounting skills to run their practice. Those who manage funeral homes are responsible for the business side of mortuary science, including marketing of their services, hiring of employees, engaging in service contracts with families of the deceased and ensuring that the wishes of the deceased and his or her family members are honored. Many graduates become funeral directors, and as such, are responsible for filing legal paperwork including death certificates, permits for burial or cremation and other legal documents.

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service ·