Can a Felon Become a Mortician?

Felons often face a difficult time finding employment after being released from prison. This is because most employers run background checks as a part of the hiring process that shows if a person has a criminal record.

However, the chance of a felon getting a job largely depends on the type and the nature of the felony conviction. Sometimes felons have to switch careers they had in the past if there are not many felon-friendly job roles available in their present career.

Some Felons might want to become a mortician but can they do so with a felony record? Let’s find out.

What is a Mortician – Responsibilities and Duties
Can a Felon Become a Mortician
Background Checks
What Education does a Mortician Need
How much does a Mortician Make
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What is a Mortician?

A mortician is also known by different names like undertaker or funeral directors. A mortician oversees funeral arrangements, works with grieving family members, arranging transport of deceased person and does all the paperwork involved. A mortician prepares bodies of the deceased for burial or cremation.

To become a mortician, a person must have certain skills like:
Excellent organizational and time management skills
People Skills
Ability to focus for extended periods of time
Ability to handle stress
Communication skills
Ability to cope with death on a regular basis

Can a Felon Become a Mortician

To become a licensed mortician, one has to earn to earn a degree by completing a mortuary science program. A felon can find and enroll in a college program that accepts people with criminal record.

The challenge for a felon after completing the program and earning a degree is to get the licensure and job as a mortician with felony record.

It is important for felons to disclose any felony convictions when applying for a license to be a mortician or embalmer. Whether they are granted a license by the state department will depend on the nature and type of conviction.

Usually, if the applicant is qualified and accurately completes the application process disclosing their conviction then they are able to obtain a license.

If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable by jail time. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

Getting their record expunged can give felons an opportunity to begin their career and get a job and not let the past hold them back. After a criminal record is expunged, it doesn’t show up in background checks and doesn’t have to be stated on any application that asks about criminal records.

Background Checks

Most employers run background checks on applicants as a part of hiring process.

Background checks reveal criminal history and may also include education records, employment history, credit history, driving records, etc. depending on the state laws and the nature of the job.

Many states by law allow expungement of some felony records after a certain time period has elapsed since the conviction or release date (usually 7 to 10 years).

Expunged records don’t show up in background checks. However, many states don’t allow records to be expunged. So, you should consult a lawyer to check if that’s an option for you.

What Education/Training does a Mortician Need

To become a mortician, one has to obtain a license provided by the state. Although the licensing requirements and examination vary by state, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant be at least 21 years of age (18 in some states)
  • Earn your high school diploma or GED.
  • Complete an ABFSE accredited funeral service or mortuary science program – Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree.
  • One to three years of apprenticeship experience.

There are currently 60 mortuary science programs that are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Most employers require at least an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science or embalming. These programs generally take two to four years to complete.

It typically takes 2 years to earn an associate’s degree and 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

How much does a Mortician Make

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of mortician was $57,620 or $27.70 an hour in 2018. The salary varies by state and also depends on the geographic location and the seniority levels.

As morticians usually work long hours and in stressful situation, those who choose this career get a lot of employment opportunities/benefits and higher wages.


Becoming a mortician can be a good career choice for felons. They can give themselves a better chance by getting their records expunged, and get the education/training and learn the skills required for the job. Also, doing volunteer work and documenting additional skills can give them an edge to excel in their career.