A career in funeral sales involves the sale of a variety of products and services associated with funeral rites, such as embalming, cremation and burial. It also includes the planning of future funeral arrangements, commonly known as pre-need sales. A funeral director usually handles funeral sales at most funeral homes, and also supervises the work of junior morticians at a funeral home.
Education and Training
The amount of education that a funeral salesperson has directly affects the salary expectations of this profession. The American Board of Funeral Service Education provides accreditation to approximately 60 programs in mortuary science, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately 90 percent of these programs are two-year programs that result in an associate's degree, and the remaining 10 percent are four-year programs that result in a bachelor's degree.
Funeral directors require licensing by the state in which they work. The specific requirements vary by state, but they generally require a formal education in mortuary science, a one-year apprenticeship and a passing grade on an examination. The best opportunity for funeral salespersons is in larger companies with more than one funeral home. This allows the funeral salesperson to earn a promotion to a managerial position, which pays a higher salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for funeral directors was $60,230 per year in 2009. By comparison, the average annual salary for all management positions in death care services in 2009 was $63,650.
Funeral directors accounted for approximately 30,000 jobs in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Standards. This total consists of 87 percent salaried positions and 13 percent self-employed funeral directors. The employment growth for this occupation is expected to experience a 12 percent increase in employment from 2008 to 2018. The Bureau of Labor Standards considers this to be an average increase for this period.
Simply Hired reports that the average salary for funeral sales jobs is $82,000 per year. Funeral salespersons frequently receive a commission on the sale of specific items, especially monuments and pre-needs services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for funeral directors in 2008 was $52,210. The middle half of funeral directors made between $38,980 and $69,680 per year. The bottom 10 percent made under $29,910 per year, and the top 10 percent had salaries greater than $92,940 per year.