Our resource pages are packed with information about mortuary school and the careers it can lead to. Get started with our intro, then check out the articles on our resources page.
The practice of embalming began in Egypt in 6000 BC when mummification became standard. The discovery of blood circulation in the 17th century by Dr. William Harvey was an incredibly important milestone in the work of embalming. Dr. Thomas Holmes is thought of as the Father of Modern Embalming after he experimented with various chemicals for embalming and then began offering his services publicly. He performed embalming extensively during the Civil War.
Today, funeral directors handle everything from transporting a body to embalming to coordinating a memorial service. Successful funeral directors have personal qualities including composure and tact and also should be skilled at communication and comforting grieving families.
There were more than 24,000 funeral directors working in the United States in 2002. Funeral service is a fantastic industry for someone looking for job security - an impending funeral director shortage and increasing population ensures there will continue to be a strong demand for people to work in this field.
Funeral directors must be licensed in each state, and in order to receive licensure, one must complete an accredited program of study, pass the Funeral Service National Board Examination (NBE), and often, participate in an apprenticeship program. There are currently 56 accredited programs in the United States for funeral directors, 13 of which are schools dedicated solely to mortuary science.