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Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers / Burial Services

How to Become a Funeral Director / Embalmer


Before becoming a Funeral Director and / or Embalmer you must:
  1. Make application to the State Board and meet the following qualifications:
    1. Be 18 years of age or older
    2. Be of good moral character
    3. Be properly protected against communicable diseases
    4. Have a high-school diploma or equivalent (GED) thereof
    5. Funeral Director - successfully complete a program of study in Funeral Service Education consisting of not less than thirty (30) semester hours from a school accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and evidenced by an official transcript.
    6. Embalmer - the candidate must obtain an Associate of Arts Degree by successfully completing a mortuary science program consisting of not less than sixty (60) semester hours with a program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and evidenced by an official transcript.
  2. Complete an apprenticeship under a licensed Tennessee funeral director and/or embalmer depending on what type of license you are pursuing.
  3. Your apprenticeship may be completed in one of two ways:
    1. Two (2) year apprentice for funeral directors
    2. One (1) year apprentice with mortuary school for funeral directors and / or embalmers. Note: If you attend mortuary school, you must register with the Board as a student to obtain credit.
  4. Quarterly reports must be submitted for each quarter of your apprenticeship. Rule 0660-04-.02 requires that an apprentice shall submit a quarterly report of apprenticeship training on a form prescribed by the Board. Such report must be received no later than sixty (60) days following the last day of the quarter for which credit is sought. 
  5. Upon completion of apprenticeship, submit a "Completion of Apprenticeship" form (provided by the Board) that has been prepared by the licensed Tennessee funeral director / embalmer that you apprenticed under.
  6. Depending on the type of license you desire, complete the appropriate application form and submit along with the required application fees.
  7. When we receive your completed application, approval for testing will be sent to the testing center. Afterwards, you should contact the testing agency for scheduling to take the State Board Examination(s), Art and / or Science, and the Tennessee Laws, Rules and Regulations Examination (whichever exam is applicable).
    Some individuals may have taken the National Board. If so, have an official transcript sent to us by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. If one has successfully passed the National Board Examinations, it is not necessary to take the state funeral director or embalmer examinations.
  8. We must have all required attachments that are requested on the application prior to approving you to take the applicable exam.
  9. The State Board Examinations, both Arts and Science, and the Tennessee Laws, Rules and Regulations Examination are given Monday through Saturday as scheduled by appointment with the testing agency. It is the responsibility of the applicant to schedule the date, time, and location of the examination(s) directly with the testing agency.
  10. After you take the examination(s), the testing center will notify our office of your score(s). Those individuals receiving a passing grade will be notified by mail to appear, if necessary, before the Board.
  11. The Board normally meets the second Tuesday of each month. When requested to appear before the Board, you will be interviewed and the Board will decide whether to approve the requested license(s). If approved, you will be directed to the cashier's office to pay the appropriate licensing fee(s).

See Tenn. Code Ann. 62-5-306; 62-5-307; 62-5-308