Funeral Service as a Career

An Opportunity to Serve

There are few professions that provide an individual with a greater sense of self-worth and service to mankind than funeral service. It is a career opportunity that enables you to become a care-giver to your community. The personal rewards that come from providing guidance and compassion to people in crisis are tremendous.

Perhaps that is why so many young people are choosing funeral service for their life's work. Perhaps it is a profession for you.

The Changing Role of the Funeral Director

In recent years, there have been some remarkable changes in the way society thinks about death. And, the funeral director has changed during that time to meet new needs and to provide new services to the families who come to him/her.

Today's funeral director is a highly-trained and highly motivated care-giver for his or her community. The funeral director provides counseling on all aspects of grief and loss, offers facilities for the conduct of a meaningful service to commemorate a life, assists in meeting legal and procedural matters that must be dealt with and works with other care-givers to guide the family through the crisis.

Above all, however, the funeral director offers compassion and understanding. The funeral director must help families better understand and accept death and the grief that follows. He or she works with the family to help them mold a traumatic situation into a helpful service that assists them through the grief process.

The Rewards of a Funeral Service Career

Salaries for funeral service employees are generally comparable with other positions requiring a similar level of education and experience. Since the vast majority of funeral homes are small businesses, there is also an opportunity to achieve ownership.

Funeral service is not, however, a "get rich" profession. While it can be very rewarding financially, the emotional rewards are immeasurable.

DOPL (Division of Professional Licensing) »

Funeral Service Education and Training

In Utah, there are two separate funeral service professional functions - as a funeral director and as an embalmer. The educational and apprenticeship requirements for licensing are somewhat different, however most funeral service professionals in our state are licensed as both a funeral director and an embalmer.

Funeral Director licensing requires two years of college and a one-year period of apprenticeship at a funeral home under the supervision of a licensed funeral director. The college course includes study in psychology, mathematics, chemistry, English, counseling, business administration, public speaking, biology and other classes. A minimum of 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours is required. Additionally, the funeral director must pass an extensive examination to determine his or her knowledge of the many aspects of funeral service.

Embalmer licensing requires the same two-year course of study at an accredited college, a two-year apprenticeship period under supervision of a licensed embalmer, a full year's instruction at a college of mortuary science, and satisfactory completion of an examination.

To achieve either the funeral director or embalmer license, you must be over 18 years of age and of good moral character.

Licensing in Utah

To get more information on being licensed in Utah, visit www.dopl.utah.gov. Requirements change from time to time so visit the DOPL website for the most current information.

Licensing in Utah www.dopl.utah.gov >Apply for license>Funeral Service>Funeral Service Director

New License Requirements

  1. High school diploma or GED equivalent/official transcript
  2. Completion of an associate degree from a mortuary science program
  3. Letter of Certification from the Funeral Service Board documenting your passing score on the funeral service exam.
  4. Verification of Work Experience documenting 2,000 hours and 50 embalmings over a period of not less than one year.
  5. Submit $160 to DOPl
  6. Copy of your Utah Insurance Department license if you are going to sell pre-need
  7. Complete the Utah Funeral Service Law Examination (part of the DOPL application)

Licensure by Endorsement (Licensed and practicing in another state)

  1. Request for Verification of License form - obtain verification of licensure from the state in which you are currently licensed.
  2. Documentation of passing score on the Funeral Service Examination
  3. Verification of Work Experience - full time employment as a licensed embalmer or funeral director for 5 of the past 10 years which practice must have included embalming
  4. $160 application fee to DOPL
  5. Submit a copy of your Utah Insurance Department license.
  6. Complete the Utah Funeral Service Law Examination form (part of the DOPL application)

License Renewal

All funeral service licenses expire May 31 of each even-numbered year. Unlike many other states, Utah's license renewal schedule is not based on the licensee's date of initial licensure. Under Utah's renewal system, all licenses in each profession expire as a group on the same day every two years. Therefore, the length of a licensee's first renewal cycle depends on how far into the current renewal cycle initial licensure was obtained. Each renewal cycle thereafter is for a full two years.

Additionally, the fee paid with the application for licensure is an application-processing fee only. It does not include a renewal fee. Each licensee is responsible to renew licensure PRIOR to the expiration date shown on the current license. Approximately two months prior to the expiration date shown on the license, renewal information is disseminated to each licensee's last address of record as provided to DOPL.

The Challenge of Funeral Service

The funeral director of today needs to possess skills in a variety of disciplines. As a funeral director/embalmer, he or she must be capable in the social sciences, have a knowledge of certain legal aspects, be a skilled counselor, a community educator, a communicator and be knowledgeable about business practices.

Funeral service is a challenge. So, it is a challenge that brings with it the promise of satisfaction in providing a very special service at a very special time in the lives of people.

Back to Top »