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What Factors Affect a Funeral Director's Salary?

Maggie Worth
Maggie Worth

A number of factors can affect a funeral director's salary. These include training and experience as well as scope of work and the geographic area in which he or she works. In addition, ownership or partnership in the firm can alter earning potential, as can the competition within the local market.

The level of required training and certification for funeral directors is generally set by a local governing authority. This often dictates what functions the funeral director can and will complete. For example, in some geographies, an individual can only be certified as a funeral director if he or she also certifies as a mortician. This means that he or she is not only capable of working with the family and of organizing and running the funeral services but also of preparing the body for burial.

A funeral director may be responsible for the embalming process of the deceased.
A funeral director may be responsible for the embalming process of the deceased.

This can dramatically increase a funeral director's salary because it increases his or her value to the company. Even if the local authority does not require a dual certification, a funeral director can increase earning potential by gaining additional skills. Besides mortuary science, such skills might include cosmetic application and business management.

Many funeral homes are privately owned.
Many funeral homes are privately owned.

As with most professions, a funeral director's salary is partially dependent on the going rate in his or her geographic market. In general, a funeral director in a large city makes more than a director in a small town. This is primarily due to the relative cost of living. In addition, a director in an area with stringent certification qualifications may well make more than a director who lives in an area in which obtaining a license is easier simply because fewer people are likely to be qualified.

Many funeral homes are privately owned and are either individual businesses or part of small, independent chains. A funeral director in this type of facility likely has a different earning capacity than one at a large chain. In addition, the funeral director at an independent home is quite likely to own an interest in the business. In this case, the funeral director's salary will be affected by profit and loss considerations.

Local market competition can affect a funeral director's salary regardless of whether he or she works for an independent funeral home or a chain. Customers who have many options are often more cost-conscious than those who have few choices. This means that a funeral home in a competitive market may have to offer its services at a lower rate, which will likely result in a lower salary for the funeral director.

Discussion Comments


There is this funeral director in my hometown who gets many more customers than the other local funeral homes because of his personality. Funerals and all that goes along with them can be sad, but there comes a point when you want a break from the sadness.

This funeral director has a way of making people smile and laugh even though they are about to bury a loved one. People appreciate this when they are going through a tough time, and they recommend him to other people.


You would hope and expect that a person who makes a living as a funeral director has enough savvy to convince the families that he works with that he has some compassion and sympathy for the situation they are in when they come to him to help with the burial of a loved one. It is even better if the sympathy and compassion come naturally for a funeral director, but if it doesn't then he should at least be a good actor.


When my father died he had already told us who he wanted to handle the body after his death. This made the process easier since there were fewer decisions to make, and there were already enough of them to make anyway.

When I went to the funeral home to make the specific plans, I sat down with the funeral director and he told me every item we would need. What bothered me about this funeral director was that it was obvious to me that he was trying to get me to choose all of the more expensive items.

For example,he wanted me to choose a wooden casket, which of course was more expensive, and he said I should use more of the funeral home's cars than I originally chose. Every time I made a choice, he tried to lead me in the direction of a more expensive item or service.

I understood that he was making more money when I spent more money, but at that time I wasn't in the mood to be dealing with a salesman. I will never use his services again.

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    • A funeral director may be responsible for the embalming process of the deceased.
      By: ufot
      A funeral director may be responsible for the embalming process of the deceased.
    • Many funeral homes are privately owned.
      By: tomaspic
      Many funeral homes are privately owned.