Choosing the best school for funeral directors requires you to consider a number of factors, including program lengths, accreditation, and apprenticeship opportunities. Schools in the United States need to adhere to national standards for mortuary science. In addition, the program should offer supplementary courses in grief counseling and business management.
The best school for funeral directors will normally offer two or four year programs. In the United States, each state requires a specific program length to become a licensed funeral director. U.S. students need to verify the required program length with the specific state of residence; if a program os an incorrect length is completed, you will not be able to apply for a license to practice as a funeral director. A school for funeral directors should be well versed in its state's license requirements. Each incoming student should be made aware of all requirements by school counselors and advisors.
Before choosing a U.S. school for funeral directors, you should verify its accreditation with the United States' Department of Education. Each school must be individually accredited as an official mortuary science educator; this accreditation confirms that all courses will cover the same curriculum. Unaccredited schools will not provide the proper curriculum for state licensing.
A quality school for funeral directors will offer an apprenticeship during the program's length. The apprenticeship normally involves working at a local mortuary to obtain hands-on experience. You will assist the funeral director with embalming practices, as well as working with families who are planning funerals. This real life experience provides a new perspective on funeral directing; you will see the human side of the profession by working with grieving family and friends.
Courses provided by a school for funeral directors should include grief counseling. Death and grieving must be handled with sensitivity; along with the services provided, a funeral director needs to demonstrate compassion. Classes explaining death and people's reactions to it will help you understand the clients' perspective when they enter the funeral parlor.
Funeral directing also involves business management. A good school will provide business courses to help you manage expenses and choose pricing structures for basic funeral services, such as wakes and burials. You should look for a school that stresses good business practices that are complemented by proper funeral processes.
Another important school attribute is help with exam preparation. United States' licensing requires an examination for each funeral director. You should look for a school that offers exam preparation courses. Normally, these courses will cover exam test formats and even conduct practice tests to ease the pressure of the real test.