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Career and Education Opportunities for Funeral Directors in Gulfport, Mississippi

Funeral director career and educational opportunities abound in Gulfport, Mississippi. About 500 people are currently employed as funeral directors in Mississippi. By 2016, this is expected to grow 15% to 570 people employed. This is better than 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 about $17 hourly or $37,240 per year on average in Mississippi and about $25 hourly or $52,210 per year on average nationally. Incomes for funeral directors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Services in Mississippi, and not quite as good as the overall Services category nationally. Funeral directors work in a variety of jobs, including: location manager, funeral location manager, and funeral counselor.

The Gulfport area is home to six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can get a degree as a funeral director. Given that the most common education level for funeral directors is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying 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 Gulfport 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

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, MS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 51 Main Street, Perkinston, MS 39573. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is a medium sized college located in Perkinston, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,215 students. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has an associate's degree program in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science which graduated four students 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.