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Post Reply What do you think of mortuary science?
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Posted 6/9/15 , edited 6/10/15
I don't know about most people, but I've been fascinated by embalming practices since I was very young. I loved reading about mummies of all kinds and even made a few of my own. My family is very traditional and paranoid, so they never approved of my unusual interests. I'd always been a strange kid but I believe that the things few people actually pay attention to can sometimes be the most interesting. I've never been a squeamish person and have done quite a few animal dissections back when I did entomology. I'm no scientist in the conventional sense (I am a bad chemist and an even worse mathematician) but the quiet setting of the embalming room is comforting and I feel I am familiar enough with the smell and sight of dead things. You don't need extensive chemistry knowledge and your anatomy knowledge doesn't need to be anywhere as thorough as those of nurses and doctors. I performed well in my anatomy courses and also know a bit about forensic entomology. When I worked for my uncle, I saw my share of dead bodies (people die of heart attacks or hang themselves in hotels) so I'm not really new to, or fazed by, the prospect of dealing with them. I've also seen a good number of fatal car accidents and other stuff.

The degree seems fairly straightforward to earn. You must learn about the ceremony, mortuary arts (embalming techniques) and how to talk to grieving families, amongst other things. And you must pass some state/federal test and do an apprenticeship under a licensed practitioner. I think it can be a potentially rewarding career path since the mortician does what nobody else wants to do and helps comfort a family during their worst hours. It seems like a surprisingly spiritual career. I'd imagine that morticians understand the importance of life. Job satisfaction seems high, morticians will always be in demand, the pay seems stable, and one of the best mortuary science schools in the US is about an hour away from my home. And the tuition is very low compared to those of more conventional programs. On top of that, California is one of the highest-paying states for morticians. Dead people don't give you a hard time, and it's easy to forgive an unreasonable person when you know he/she is having one of the worst days of his/her life.

What do you guys think of the mortuary sciences? Some people think that only nutcases and twisted people would want to work at a morgue or funeral home. Others seem uncomfortable talking and thinking about death, so they just scrunch up their noses. Still, others think funeral directors rob grieving families by taking advantage of them while they are distressed, forgetting that this is a job, too. And others just think blood and guts and gleet and snot are gross, and the smells are even worse. Have you ever thought about the mortuary sciences? Anybody know a mortician?
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Posted 6/10/15
I don't see why not as you stated work is plentiful, I don't believe you would have a bad boss while training and your performing a service that many would not. As one of the guys I used to work with in the oilfield would say "it's a dirty job but someone has to do it".
Since I work in safety blood and gore really doesn't affect me that job actually sounds less stressful than having to deal with osha, epa, and customer safety requirements plus I have 5 bosses I report to. " 1 for safety, 1 for state compliance, 1 for human resource, 1 manager, 1 environmental"
I may look into to myself if the pay good enough.
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15

J-POP187 wrote:

I don't see why not as you stated work is plentiful, I don't believe you would have a bad boss while training and your performing a service that many would not. As one of the guys I used to work with in the oilfield would say "it's a dirty job but someone has to do it".
Since I work in safety blood and gore really doesn't affect me that job actually sounds less stressful than having to deal with osha, epa, and customer safety requirements plus I have 5 bosses I report to. " 1 for safety, 1 for state compliance, 1 for human resource, 1 manager, 1 environmental"
I may look into to myself if the pay good enough.


Texas is actually the highest paying state for morticians, if not one of the highest paying. I did a lot of research over the last few days and many sources put Texas at or near the top. Some sources were like 4 years old, though, so I do have doubts. And about 1/3rd of the demand is not comfortably satisfied, it seems. I'd suggest at least doing some research on it if you're considering it. The results are surprising!
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Posted 6/10/15

Morbidhanson wrote:


J-POP187 wrote:




Texas is actually the highest paying state for morticians. And about 1/3rd of the demand is not satisfied.



If you don't mind me asking how long is the course? This actually sounds like something I will look into having a quiet place to myself instead of having people running and shouting all the time does sound nice.
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Posted 6/10/15
It depends on your state and I'm not too sure about Texas. A few require no license for funeral directors. Some have schools that offer associate's degrees. Others offer bachelor's degrees. Most, if not all, require you to do an apprenticeship or internship before you can practice yourself but it seems universal that you're more versatile and well-paid if you do embalming in addition to the usual funerary arrangements.
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Posted 6/10/15
If that's your area of interest, I'd say go for it. It sounds like you would really be committed to the job, and enjoy what you do, so I see no reason not to pursue it. As for demand, well, you know what they say about cemeteries - everyone's dying to get in.
Posted 6/10/15
I've always had an interest in the dead, in a non-freaky way, and was gonna be a coroner at one point, also considered being a mortician.
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Posted 6/10/15
Sure, why not .It's a very necessary profession otherwise we'd be hip deep in the dearly departed..They use to call me the angel of death because every time there was a body I'd get the call to take the body to the morgue.
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Posted 6/10/15
Sounds good. It's a secure field considering it's one of the few outside of the IRS that's always in demand.

But as odd as it sounds make SURE you can handle being around dead bodies. Med school had a mandatory number of hours we had to be in the morgue and assisting morticians to get us used to it and an amazing number of us couldn't handle it. Outside of that it's rather interesting.
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15

retronatrix wrote:But as odd as it sounds make SURE you can handle being around dead bodies. Med school had a mandatory number of hours we had to be in the morgue and assisting morticians to get us used to it and an amazing number of us couldn't handle it. Outside of that it's rather interesting.


Exactly--There's an adolescent phase where everyone likes weird, morbid things that freak out the teacher (Tim Burton hasn't outgrown his yet), but it's a job somebody's got to do, and coroners and morticians do put it in enough workaday professional context to make a living at it. Sounds like you're already at that stage.
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Posted 6/10/15
Its is a job on demand, so go on.
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Posted 6/10/15
Haven't really put much thought into mortuary sciences specificially but I wouldn't be bothered by any of it. Death and decay don't bother me. The smell wouldn't bother me. None of it would really.

The only thing I can think of that would keep me from doing this is this part you listed: how to talk to grieving families
I'm too much of a realist (or pessimist as some like to mistake it as) and emotionless to be able to provide any sympathy for a family. Everything else about the job sounds interesting though.
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15
As expected, my traditional and superstitious Asian family isn't too enthusiastic or receptive, haha. This stuff just seems taboo to them. I think they are outraged and concerned that I even suggested it. Ghosts! Evil spirits! Weird people! Inner darkness! Awful reputation! Outcast! Horror of horrors! You can't choose to do that just because you like Halloween! I guess this is why there is a demand and nobody wants to do it.

I still find that it appears to be quite a reasonable and practical line of work. The smell isn't even that bad since the bodies to be prepped are typically less than a day or two old. Do stuff other people don't want to do because it really isn't all that bad to you, get paid a comfortable living wage, pay less for tuition and become ready in a shorter amount of time, perform a useful service, take pride in your handiwork, do it knowing there won't be much competition or a lessening demand....

I'll probably hold off for now but if my current thing doesn't work out or I decide it's just too impractical, I'll consider this backup.
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Posted 6/10/15
I wouldn't have a problem embalming and preparing the dead. It's just a job. They're dead. Everybody dies.

The hard part, for me, would be dealing with the grieving families.
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15

Morbidhanson wrote:

As expected, my traditional and superstitious Asian family isn't too enthusiastic or receptive, haha. This stuff just seems taboo to them. I think they are outraged and concerned that I even suggested it. Ghosts! Evil spirits! Weird people! Inner darkness! Awful reputation! Outcast! Horror of horrors! You can't choose to do that just because you like Halloween! I guess this is why there is a demand and nobody wants to do it.

I still find that it appears to be quite a reasonable and practical line of work. The smell isn't even that bad since the bodies to be prepped are typically less than a day or two old. Do stuff other people don't want to do because it really isn't all that bad to you, get paid a comfortable living wage, pay less for tuition and become ready in a shorter amount of time, perform a useful service, take pride in your handiwork, do it knowing there won't be much competition or a lessening demand....

I'll probably hold off for now but if my current thing doesn't work out or I decide it's just too impractical, I'll consider this backup.


I'm not sure why but I find it amusing that Asians would find this taboo but not a couple other things that come to mind.

Hey if it's something you want to try/do then go for it. Screw what other people think.
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