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Career and Education Opportunities for Funeral Directors in Birmingham, Alabama

Funeral directors can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 610 people are currently employed as funeral directors in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 10% to about 660 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for funeral directors, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.9% over the next eight years. In general, funeral directors perform various tasks to arrange and direct funeral services, such as coordinating transportation of body to mortuary for embalming, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, procuring official for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.

Funeral directors earn approximately $18 hourly or $38,510 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $25 per hour or $52,210 per year. Earnings for funeral directors are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Services in Alabama and not quite as good as general Services category earnings nationally. Funeral directors work in a variety of jobs, including: licensed funeral director, funeral director / embalmer, and director.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a funeral director, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Funeral directors usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn to be a funeral director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Funeral Director

Funeral Director video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, funeral directors perform various tasks to arrange and direct funeral services, such as coordinating transportation of body to mortuary for embalming, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, procuring official for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.

Funeral directors offer counsel and comfort to bereaved families and friends. They also direct preparations and shipment of bodies for out-of-state burial. Equally important, funeral directors have to formulate and direct funerals, burials, and cremations, arranging details such as floral delivery and the time and place of services. They are often called upon to furnish data on funeral service options and products, and maintain a casket display area. They are expected to formulate placement of caskets at funeral sites, and place and adjust lights, fixtures, and floral displays. Finally, funeral directors oversee funeral home operations, including the hiring and supervision of embalmers or other staff.

Every day, funeral directors are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for funeral directors to manage pallbearers, and inform pallbearers and honorary groups of their duties. They are often called upon to receive and usher people to their seats for services. They also close caskets and lead funeral corteges to churches or burial sites. They are sometimes expected to confer with families or friends of the deceased to organize funeral details such as obituary notice wording and plans for services. Somewhat less frequently, funeral directors are also expected to formulate placement of caskets at funeral sites, and place and adjust lights, fixtures, and floral displays.

Funeral directors sometimes are asked to participate in community efforts for funeral home promotion or other purposes. and manage clergy members to perform needed services. And finally, they sometimes have to consider and negotiate prearranged funerals with clients.

Like many other jobs, funeral directors must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Food Service Manager. Plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that serves food and beverages.
  • Hotel or Motel Manager. Plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that provides lodging and other accommodations.
  • Sales Manager. Direct the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer. Coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Funeral Director Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated twenty-three and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence: The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence is a professional who leads and champions process-improvement initiatives’ everywhere from small businesses to multinational corporations’ that can have regional or global focus in a variety of service and industrial settings.

For more information, see the American Society for Quality website.

Certified In Thanatology: Certification in Thanatology (CT) is a foundation certification that enhances the professional designation established by the academic discipline of each certificate holder.

For more information, see the Association for Death Education and Counseling website.

Certified Manager: Certified Manager certification is valued for the credibility and recognition it brings to managers and the organizations for which they work.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Professional Managers website.

Certified Preplanning Consultant: Earning formal recognition of your professional expertise as an advance funeral planner is important to you and to your firm.

For more information, see the National Funeral Directors Association website.

Program Management Professional: Project Management Institute's newest credential is specifically developed to acknowledge the qualifications of the professional who leads the coordinated management of multiple projects and ensures the ultimate success of a program.

For more information, see the Project Management Institute website.

LICENSES

Funeral Director

Licensing agency: Board of Funeral Services
Address: P O Box 309522, Montgomery, AL 36130-9522

Phone: (334) 242-4049
Website: Board of Funeral Services

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.