(ETX Daily Up) – The Covid-19 pandemic and the millions of deaths it has caused have shaken our (taboo) relationship with death. It also raised vocations among young Americans. More and more of them want to enter the funeral business.
The phenomenon is such that American universities that provide funeral training are seeing an increase in the number of students. New enrollments in mortuary science programs jumped 24% nationally between 2020 and 2021, according to the American Board of Funeral Service Education (AFBSE).
And this is just the beginning. Many Americans under 40 are taking the leap and returning to the death market. By vocation, of course, but also by ambition. With almost 3 million deaths a year, the sector is doing well. It is also estimated at 16 billion dollars in the United States. This figure is bound to increase with the arrival at the end of life of the baby-boom generation.
The flourishing health of the death business also contributes to its appeal. Although wages remain low. It averages $48,950 a year for counselors and other funeral home employees, compared to $74,000 for funeral directors.
Break the taboo of death
Despite this, taking this route is the guarantee of finding work quickly. “The job shortage is so severe now that the placement rate for program graduates [de formation funéraire] it’s 90%,” Leili McMurrough, director of programs at Worsham College of Mortuary Science and chair of the AFBSE credentialing committee, told CNN.
Added to this is the seniority of those who have been in the profession for years. “Over 60% of funeral directors said they will retire in five years. That’s a lot,” Randy Anderson, president of the National Association of Funeral Directors, told the outlet.
The Covid crisis has also considerably accelerated the general public’s awareness of the meaning – and the great utility – of death trades. At the height of the pandemic, the trial of death was particularly trying for families and loved ones. Many were deeply affected by the image of coffins piled in mass graves, funerals in small groups or dehumanized and sloppy ceremonies in the chain. Hence this influx of vocations.
This new generation of professionals, younger and more female than the previous ones, is determined to repair the trauma of the pandemic while lifting the taboo around death. That’s why some like @mybloodygalentine and @hollisfuneralhome are taking TikTok, the favorite social network of young people. They publish explanatory videos about their daily lives and answer questions that Internet users ask about funeral rituals. An innovative way to learn to better welcome death.