Inquiring about the Funeral Director profession

5 years, 9 months ago

After reading the interview with Josh Slocum where he states that “Nobody needs to go to school to figure out how to lift a shoulder and move a dead body. Nobody needs to go to school to figure out how to dress a dead body or fill out a death certificate,” I feel totally dismayed. I am a medically retired vet who thought about pursuing an A.A.S. degree in funeral science. Does anyone know if funeral directors are in demand? Is an A.A.S. degree enough, or would you recommend going to a school (e.g. University of Minnesota) that offers a full bachelors degree? After reading the future trends section, maybe funeral directors will be outsourced or taken over by robots too. I have been desperately trying to get back into the working world, and I thought this would be a career that would never be phased out–or at least one in which not too many people would voluntarily pursue. Now I am not so sure what to do. I have no idea if I would just be picking up the deceased in a mechanical way and one in which anyone can do (at least that is how Mr. Slocum puts it), or if I would actually be helping people. The article made it sound so cynical.

Jennifer Lane
5 years, 9 months ago

Funeral directors are still very much needed, and there is more to this profession than what Mr. Slocum commented on in our interview with him. While trends are certainly changing, the funeral industry has historically been slow to adopt change. So, while the future may see a robot or two, I personally doubt that will become the norm anytime soon.

Funerals are about loss and hurting people – who is better to help and comfort a family on the worst day of their lives? A compassionate person (funeral director) or a robot? I would certainly not feel comforted by a robot and I doubt most people today would either. You would absolutely be helping people.

It’s a tough job with crazy hours, as people don’t keep to business hours when the end of their life arrives. Funeral directors are often on call overnight and need to be available for weekends and holidays. It takes a special person that is willing to do this as a career.

Typically, the education required is a Bachelor of Science degree in Mortuary Science. I would check with the Funeral Directors Association in the state where you are, as their website will list the requirements. You can find those associations on online by searching for something like “funeral director requirements Minnesota.”

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