A Career in Funeral Service

The Funeral Service Professional

  • Works with the bereaved, providing sensitive, effective intervention during a time of emotional need. 
  • Is a professional caregiver who enables families and communities to express their concern for life and the living. 
  • Is a motivated man or woman who practices a unique vocation and who is legally required to possess certain professional qualifications.
  • Is involved in a variety of activities within the community. 
  • Carries out administrative and logistical tasks required by law, custom, and accepted practice. 

Duties And Responsibilities Of A Funeral Service Professional

  • Provides support to the bereaved during initial stages of their grief. 
  • Arranges and directs funeral ceremonies. 
  • Arranges for removal of the deceased from the place of death. 
  • Prepares the body according to the wishes of the survivors and requirements of the law. 
  • Secures information for legal documents. 
  • Files death certificates and other legal papers. 
  • Assists survivors with details for filing claims for death benefits. 
  • Helps individuals adapt to changes in their lives following a death through post-death counseling and support group activities.

Why Should You Enter Funeral Service?

  • You are a caregiver who desires to serve others. 
  • You believe that ceremony is an effective means of expressing feelings and meeting needs. 
  • You are tolerant of ways in which people of different faiths and cultures express their feelings and practice their beliefs. 
  • You are interested in the technical sciences. 
  • You exhibit sensitivity and compassion for those with whom you are in contact.
  • You are interested in learning all aspects of a business. 

What Type of Responsibilities Will I Have?

Each funeral home may have a different outline of apprenticeship duties. Duties may include, but not be limited to:

  • Removals from place of death 
  • Assisting with preparation of remains 
  • Observing funeral arrangements 
  • Assisting with funeral services 
  • Assisting with evening visitations 
  • Assisting with operation of the crematory 
  • Miscellaneous janitorial and building maintenance 
  • Cleaning of vehicles 

Some tasks may seem menial, but it is important to remember that we all began at the same point. 

Educational Requirements

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Some college, in accordance with a state's requirement, a portion of which is in funeral service education:

The funeral service curriculum, approved by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), the United States funeral service accrediting agency, includes courses in:

  • Public Health and Technical Area - microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, pathology, restorative art, and embalming.
  • Business Management Area - business management, funeral arranging, funeral merchandising, funeral home management, computer applications, Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, and accounting.
  • Social Science Area - sociology of funeral service, psychology of grief, funeral directing, history of funeral service, communication skills, and counseling.
  • Legal, Regulatory and Ethical Area - business law, funeral service law and regulation, and professional ethics.
    • Passing a state and/or national board licensing examination.
    • An internship or apprenticeship ranging from one to three years.
    • Several states require that funeral directors meet continuing education requirements. 
    • There are four funeral service courses offered in Indiana at Ivy Tech (E. Chicago and Indianapolis campuses), Vincennes University, and Mid-America College in Jeffersonville.

Licensure Requirements

The practice of funeral service is a regulated profession in the state of Indiana. To become an Intern in Indiana an applicant must:

  • Be 18 years of age 
  • Have a degree from an accredited high school
  • Meet the academic requirements for mortuary science (this includes 30 semester hours of college credits plus 4 academic quarters in an accredited mortuary school or completion of a 21 month accredited mortuary science program.) 
  • No convictions of a crime that would be grounds for discipline or bear on the ability to practice 
  • Take and pass the State Board examination 
  • Pay the intern licensing fee

(Note that in Indiana, internship is served after completion of mortuary education and examination.)

Internship is for one-year. This is followed by the issuance of a license to practice funeral service. Licenses renew every two years. Ten hours of continuing education are required for license renewal.

Please refer to Indiana state law for specifics on licensing.


The Indiana Funeral Education Foundation  offers the following scholarships for students:

  • Isaac Ball Scholarship $5,000
  • Renee' Parker Scholarship $2,500
  • Bo Hagemeir Scholarship $2,500
  • Frank Moore Executive Director Scholarship $2,500

The student is to first fill out the Scholarship Application Form and then apply for any of the separate scholarships by following the submission instructions for each scholarship.

Application deadline for 2024 is March 29, 2024.

2024 Student Scholarship Application

The Indiana Funeral Education Foundation  offers the following professional scholarships:

The Indiana Funeral Education Foundation is committed to excellence in funeral service education and is proud to offer five (5) $2,000 professional development scholarships. These scholarships are available to any member of IFDA - licensed and un-licensed firm staff, individual, senior, and associate members. Scholarships will be awarded during the annual IFDA Convention & Trade Show and winners are expected to attend.

Application deadline for 2024 is March 29, 2024.


Jobs in Indiana

Email your resume and cover letter to connie@infda.org.  We accept resumes from everyone. Your information will be posted to the IFDA private Employment Center page for three months. Please notify us when you have found a position. If you have not found a position within 3 months and would like to keep your resume posted for an additional three months, please notify us.

Best of luck in your search!