A degree in Mortuary Science can lead you in different professional directions. Some of the careers you can explore include:
- Funeral director
- Anatomic pathologists' assistant
Funeral directors are responsible for preparing the remains, organizing obituary notices and coordinating the details of the service to the family's specifications. They also arrange the final resting place of the remains. Funeral directors must also be a comfort to the survivors.
Anatomic pathologists' assistants assist a medical doctor in examining tissue and interpreting laboratory results. They also assist in preventative medicine laboratories and coroners offices. Some activities include performing autopsies and developing new tests and lab equipment.
Funeral directors work on an on-call basis. These means long, inconsistent hours, usually including weekends. In larger funeral homes, work shifts among directors are common to accommodate the needs of clients. Appropriate, conservative dress is the professional look directors must adhere to in order to show respect for the mourning family.
Anatomic pathologists' assistants usually work 40 hours or more a week, Monday through Saturday. Most assistants work in shifts to support the demands of physicians, funeral directors and patients. Many work in community, university and government hospitals; clinics; and blood banks. Some also work in independent laboratories, private offices, clinics and other health care facilities.
A steady, 18 percent increase in job opportunities for funeral directors is expected nationally through 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan is expected to see a 4 percent increase in employment.
A national increase is also expected for anatomic pathologists' assistants.
State board licenses differ among states, but usually consist of written and oral exams coupled with a demonstration of practical skills. Advancement opportunities for funeral directors are better in a large funeral home. Promotions could be made to branch manager or general manager. Some even go on to establish their own funeral home.
If you wish to advance from an assistant pathologist to a pathologist, more education is needed. A pathologist is a medical doctor who must be board certified to practice.