8 high-paying, nontraditional degrees

College Finance » 8 High-paying, Nontraditional Degrees

Mortuary science
Mortuary science © Bruce Works/

Your wallet will thank you for getting over your discomfort with the dead. Preparing students to become morticians, funeral directors or even embalmers, mortuary science programs are oftentimes available as two-year degrees, though some states require a four-year degree, says Michael Smith, executive director of the American Board of Funeral Service Education.

In addition to completing courses in pathology, restorative arts, psychology and ethics, you'll also need to pass a state licensing exam and, in some cases, a national board exam. Some states also require an internship or apprenticeship before working on your own, and most require workers to complete continuing education credits, reports the National Funeral Directors Association.

"Most (mortuary science graduates) work in funeral homes," Smith says. "There are some in pre-need insurance claims, (and) some go into the supply side, (such as) casket sales and cemetery management."

According to the BLS, funeral service managers have a median salary of $66,720 per year while funeral directors, morticians and undertakers bring in median salaries of $46,840.


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