- If you're still in your high school years, you can begin to prepare for a career as a mortician by taking courses, such as biology and chemistry. The BLS indicates that most morticians perform embalming, which is the process of preserving the corpse for the funeral by removing the blood and replacing it with a special fluid, so knowledge of human anatomy is beneficial. Morticians perform a counseling role when working with the deceased's loved ones, so speech or communications training is advantageous.
- Formal training for a mortician career consists of completing a two- or four-year program in mortuary science. According to the Funeral Service Foundation website, some states require a Bachelor's degree to obtain the necessary state license. In addition to college programs, there are also specialized institutions that provide mortuary science training. Coursework includes a variety of science and business classes, as well as training in embalming techniques. Psychology courses will prepare you for the grief counseling element of the job.
- The BLS also indicates that some states require prospective morticians to complete an apprenticeship as part of the general licensing requirements. The typical length is one year, although, in some cases a three-year apprenticeship may be necessary. You can complete the apprenticeship before, during or after your formal training. During the apprenticeship, you will work closely with a seasoned mortician to gain experience in all aspects of the mortuary business.
- Each state has its own licensing requirements that prospective morticians must fulfill before practicing on their own. In addition to meeting the education and apprenticeship guidelines, you must meet the age requirement, which is typically 21 years of age. You will likely need to successfully complete a licensing examination to ensure you have the necessary knowledge and skills. Depending on the state, you may need an additional license to perform the embalming role.