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Career and Education Opportunities for Funeral Directors in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Funeral directors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. There are currently 880 jobs for funeral directors in Michigan and this is projected to grow 11% to 980 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for funeral directors are expected to grow by about 11.9%. Funeral directors generally 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.

The income of a funeral director is about $27 per hour or $57,950 yearly on average in Michigan. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 hourly or $52,210 annually on average. Earnings for funeral directors are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Services in Michigan and not quite as good as general Services category earnings nationally. People working as funeral directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: funeral home manager, mortician, and funeral location manager.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as a funeral director. The most common level of education for funeral directors is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Grand Rapids 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

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated one student 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

Mortician

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer and Industry Services
Address: Bureau of Commercial Services, Michigan Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science, PO Box 30018, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 241-9252
Website: Department of Consumer and Industry Services Bureau of Commercial Services Michigan Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science

LOCATION INFORMATION: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.