Frazer Blog

Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic: a look at mortuary school curriculum

by | May 27, 2016 | Funeral Profession

An empty classroom full of chairs

To become a mortician, you just need a parent who is a mortician to teach you the trade, right?

While many who are unfamiliar with funeral homes might believe this, we know better. Though many children do typically take over for their parents in a family funeral home and continue their legacy, it’s still a lot of hard work and it’s not something you jump into easily.

To practice, morticians need at least an associate’s degree in mortuary science, then they need to complete an apprenticeship, pass a licensing exam, and continue to maintain that licensure for the rest of the time that they practice.

At the core of becoming a mortician is mortuary school. But what do you learn when you attend college to care for the dead? Here’s a look at some of the common classes future morticians take during their time in mortuary school:

  • English Composition
  • Public Speaking/Interviewing Skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • College Math
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Thanatochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Funeral Directing/Service Orientation
  • Religions, Values, and Death
  • Macroeconomics
  • Accounting
  • Applications of Computers
  • History of Funeral Service
  • Descriptive Pathology
  • Funeral Service Law/Ethics
  • Small Business Management
  • Restorative Art/Modeling
  • Presentation and Cosmetics
  • Embalming and Disposition
  • Funeral Service Management and Principles
  • Psychology of Death/Dying and Grief/Bereavement
  • Grief Dynamics and Aftercare

Cosmetics, Law, Accounting, and Public Speaking? Not what you expected, is it? The mortuary school curriculum, while it varies from school to school, is largely interdisciplinary and very few classes focus solely on caring for the dead.

That’s because funeral home operators are much more than that — they take care of the dead, but they also have to be there for the families who are grieving to make sure they are taken care of as well. And on top of all the compassion they need to have, they also need skills to run the business end of a funeral home like accounting, economics, finance, law, etc.

And even after finishing school, they still have to pass their licensure exam and complete one to three years of apprenticeship before they are full-fledged morticians. But if you ask them, I can almost guarantee you they’ll say it was all worth it, because they love what they do.

What sort of classes did you take in mortuary school? Which ones were your favorite or least favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

1 Comment

  1. Jesus A.Zavala

    Mortuary Colleges need to add to their curriculum a course in Human Relations! It’s much needed cause some Funeral Service Practicioners (CEOs, GMs, Managers, FD/Embalmers, Gen. Staff, etc..)lack that knowledge. Through the years in the Profession, I’ve encountered a vast of my colleagues being very rude to families in general.


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