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Can a Felon Become a Funeral Director?

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Felons have a significant challenge finding a job after their release from prison. There are resources available even though felons may doubt that anyone will hire them. Those who have hired felons have discovered that they make good employees, although it might be in a different career from one felons had before their conviction.

This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a funeral director.

  • What is a Funeral Director?
  • What Education/Training Does a Funeral Director Need?
  • How Much Does a Funeral Director Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is a Funeral Director?

A funeral director, also known as a mortician or an undertaker, is in charge of coordinating the funeral process. This includes preparing the body for burial (embalming) or performing a cremation, making arrangements with families, and taking charge of funeral details.

A funeral director also helps with the planning of the funeral and guides the deceased’s family and friends through the process. He or she also helps with all activities of the funeral including finding a minister, coordinating transportation of the body, and making sure the obituary is properly placed.

Becoming a successful funeral director involves many skills, including:

  • Compassion towards others
  • Ability to cope with death on a regular basis
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Communication skills to convey information clearly to grieving families
  • Good organizational skills to coordinate funeral arrangements
  • Good technical skills when embalming

What Education/Training Does a Funeral Director Need?

A license to practice as a funeral director is necessary, but the requirements vary by state.

Typically, an applicant needs to:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Accumulate a certain number of credits in mortuary science courses at an accredited college
  • Complete an internship
  • Pass the approved national licensing exams

The exam includes subjects such as:

  • Business law
  • Psychology
  • Funeral service merchandising and history
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Restorative arts
  • Anatomy
  • Embalming

There are 58 mortuary science schools accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABSFE). Most of these schools are two-year associate’s degree offered at community colleges, although some also offer bachelor degrees.

How Much Does a Funeral Director Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 68,100 active funeral directors in the U.S. in 2021. The median salary for funeral directors was $58,900. This is the salary at which half of funeral directors earn more and half less.

A funeral director’s salary will vary by state and whether it is in a rural or urban area. In general, a funeral director tends to make more in the Northeast and in large cities around the country.

With baby boomers approaching retirement age, there will be a large group of U.S. citizens who will need healthcare and, potentially, funeral services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 8% increase in funeral director jobs by 2031 because of the aging population, since around 3 million people die each year.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. About 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree can find a college that will accept him or her. The challenge is in getting a job as a funeral director following graduation and certification.

It is important to be honest in filling out an application for a job or when applying for certification as a funeral director. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable by jail time. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a funeral director, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a funeral director. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It would be a major challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon wanting to become a funeral director. Giving him or herself the best chance for success by having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make an essential difference.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life and achieve a goal no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a funeral director with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

1 thought on “Can a Felon Become a Funeral Director?”

  1. Hello, what about a domestic violence charge? The case was thrown out, no charges filed. But still on record (Florida). Thank you!


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