How to Become a Mortuary Scientist

Mortuary science is a field that requires many different skills. Whether you want to become an embalmer or funeral director, or even both, you’ll need a mix of formal education and hands-on training through an apprenticeship or internship.

Standalone morgues typically offer more direct services such as quick viewing for immediate family members and on-site cremation without a full offering of memorialization services. They are also less expensive.

What is a Mortuary?

A mortuary is a place where dead bodies are stored until they can be identified, autopsied, or released to the family for burial. Most commonly, morgues are located in hospitals and medical facilities. However, there are some private mortuaries.

Mortuaries typically have refrigerated compartments for holding the bodies of the deceased. They also have a viewing room where families can see their loved ones before they make funeral arrangements.

Many mortuaries offer cremation services as well. A crematorium is a more specialized facility that has a larger focus on memorialization than the typical mortuary. Cremation services can include a quick viewing for immediate family members and an onsite cremation. A funeral home can also provide memorialization services, including grief counseling and coordinating paperwork, the death certificate, and an obituary.

What is the Difference Between a Mortuary and a Morgue?

While some people use the terms interchangeably, there are significant differences between a mortuary and a morgue. A mortuary is a temporary storage facility for bodies, usually found in hospitals and medical facilities, while a morgue is a place where coroners conduct autopsies or other investigations.

Mortuaries prepare the remains for funeral rites or cremation by washing and disinfecting, suturing or packing openings, embalming (if necessary), dressing and arranging the body, and preparing a casket. They also handle transport and offer grief counseling services.

Standalone morgues don’t typically have a funeral director on staff, so they can only provide basic preparation services. They may also have limited or no memorial products, such as caskets, to choose from.

Morgues have a more forensic focus, and their staff members include forensic pathologists, medical examiners, and coroners. They also have specialized equipment for performing autopsies. They often store the bodies in refrigerated cabinets, which prevents them from decomposition and preserves their evidence.

What is the Difference Between a Funeral Home and a Mortuary?

The funeral industry can be very confusing for those who are not familiar with the terms used. Some of the most important words that are often misused or confused include morgue, mortuary and crematorium.

A morgue is a space within a hospital or coroner’s office that houses dead bodies for examination and storage. It is usually staffed by morticians who are responsible for the care and preparation of the dead body for burial or cremation.

Mortuaries that are attached to funeral homes can provide embalming, a meaningful funeral service and on-site burial or cremation. They can also offer direct services which are less expensive and can be more suited to families who prefer simple end-of-life arrangements or wish to adhere to specific religious or cultural practices.

Standalone mortuaries focus primarily on the mortuary sciences of caring for and preparing the deceased body. They may not offer a wide range of memorialization options and typically do not have funeral directors on staff.

What is the Difference Between a Mortuary and a Crematory?

Many people are under the impression that mortuaries and crematories offer similar services, but this is not necessarily true. The main difference between a mortuary and a crematory is that a mortuary focuses on preparing a body for burial and/or embalming, while a crematory simply cremates a body.

A mortuary typically employs embalmers, who sanitize and prepare the body for viewing and funeral arrangements. A mortuary also offers a variety of other services, such as arranging transportation for the body and assisting families with funeral planning.

A morgue, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with performing autopsies and other medical examinations of the deceased. It is often staffed by coroners and other medical professionals. A morgue also works closely with law enforcement agencies in investigating the cause of death. This is why the term “morgue” is more commonly used in the U.S. than in other parts of the world. Despite these differences, both facilities are subject to the same legal responsibilities and requirements.

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