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A funeral director will be involved with just about all aspects of funeral services, and he or she may even take part in the embalming process. Funeral director training can be fairly in-depth, and a person can prepare for such training as early as high school by taking part in biology and chemistry classes. He or she will need to graduate from high school or earn an equivalent qualification before enrolling in the next phase of funeral director training, which generally involves taking part in a two- or four-year degree program in mortuary sciences or a related field.
It is best to research the various requirements outlined by a state, country, or region. This will give the candidate a better idea of what types of funeral director training are necessary and applicable. Generally, the funeral director will need to be highly organized, able to speak in public, compassionate, and knowledgeable about various cultural customs regarding death. If the director is also an embalmer, he or she will need to take part in training specific to this sometimes difficult task. Funeral director training from a college or university will generally cover all of these topics; some technical schools also offer programs that will teach all the necessary skills.
Once the candidate has completed formal funeral director training, he or she will likely need to undergo an apprenticeship at a funeral home. This apprenticeship will give the candidate an opportunity to learn more about the profession under the guidance and supervision of a more experienced funeral director. The apprenticeship can vary in duration, but a candidate should expect to spend anywhere from one to three years being an apprentice to more experienced professionals. Once the apprenticeship is complete or near-complete, the candidate can take any necessary licensing examinations required by law in a particular region.
Sometimes it is possible to learn the trade without a degree program or formal training, but this is quite rare, as most regions of the world have strict guidelines regarding the funeral director's job and training. It is possible to get some experience in a funeral home setting by taking volunteer opportunities or by taking entry level jobs that are not necessarily directly related to the job of the funeral director. This is a good opportunity to learn more about the trade and decide if it is right for that particular job candidate's future.