Licensing & Required Training

In general, an individual who wishes to become a funeral director must complete a course of collegiate-level study in funeral service. There’s a mandated course of study in two areas:

  1. mortuary arts and sciences: includes embalming, restorative art, anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, pathology, and personal and public health biology practices.
  2. funeral service education: addresses funeral service orientation, funeral counseling, funeral directing, funeral home management, funeral home accounting and business and mortuary law.

In addition, the particular institution will also require certain electives to be completed as part of the course of study.

Education & Training

New York State requires the following to become a licensed funeral director:

  • Successfully complete and graduate from an accredited mortuary science program. Students seeking to become funeral directors must complete 60 semester credits (about 2 years) in the following subjects:
    • Mortuary arts (22 semester hours)
    • Funeral services (22 semester hours)
    • Electives (16 semester hours)
  • Pass the National Board Exam administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.
  • Be of good moral character.
  • Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.
  • Complete a 12-month training program as a registered resident with an approved New York State-registered funeral firm.
  • Pass a NYS law exam pertaining to the laws, rules and regulations governing the business and practice of funeral directing in New York State.
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