Aspiring funeral directors must complete a funeral service or mortuary science program approved by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and intern with a licensed funeral director for one to three years. They also must pass a state licensing exam.
Funeral-service students take courses in technical skills (cosmetics and coloring, restorative arts, principles of embalming, and chemistry, pathology, and microbiology for embalmers), funeral service history and psychology, death counseling, business management, and state law and ethical considerations. Funeral directors who also want to embalm must separately get an embalming license.
And if you're wondering how undertakers and morticians fit into all this, Carvaly explains that "mortician" and "undertaker" are catchall terms for the person who directs funerals and embalms the bodies. The term "undertaker" is dated and not really used anymore, and while people do refer to themselves as morticians, it's not considered a formal job title within the profession.