Funeral service becoming a more popular career choice - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Funeral service becoming a more popular career choice

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- If there is nothing certain in life, but death and taxes, then funeral service maybe the closest thing to a recession-proof career.            

According to the National Funeral Directors Association there are around 35,000 Funeral Directors in the United States. However, in the past year there has been a dramatic spike in enrollment in mortuary schools.  

Daryl Schumacher has been a Funeral Director for more than 30 years. Now more and more students are taking the same path by using their science background and entering the world of funeral service.             

"The educational background according to the state of Iowa, you need 60 semester hours at some area college then a year of professional courses that can be taken at anyone of about 50 schools throughout the United States," Schumacher said.

At the University of Northern Iowa they have the core curriculum for those wishing to enter this field, but for some it isn't usually their first choice.

"Where they might utilize their interest in anatomy and physiology and their interest in the sciences and get to also work with the public and therefore they have the basic science that they need to go on to mortuary school and then they can have an occupation quicker than going to medical school," UNI Biology Academic Advisor, Sherry Nuss said.

Schumacher says he is surprised so many people are looking into this career choice. He says it takes a toll both physically and emotionally.

"Death does not take a holiday, it occurs at anytime and you have to respond to that and help people through a very difficult time," Schumacher said.

There are some career fields that are growing or at least remaining steady in tough economic times according to Those include health care, education, and international business. To see the entire list, click here.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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