Funeral Home Assistant Certification Course

Chapter One

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four






FUNERAL DIRECTOR - The funeral director is one who has had the required educational training and passed the appropriate state and/or national examinations to obtain a license or certification to legally conduct funerals and/or operate and manage a funeral home in a specified state or province. Some funeral directors do not manage a funeral home. They are simply employed by a funeral home to help handle a portion of the volume of business at the funeral home they are employed by. A funeral director’s duties may include but are not limited to : 1). Meeting with the families of the deceased to help them make decisions regarding the style and type of funeralization or memorialization process desired by the family 2).Presenting funeral merchandise such as caskets, vaults, clothing, urns and personalized memorials to a family for purchase 3).Arranging and coordinating the details of the planned funeral so that events take place as the family has desired and scheduled them to. 4). Conducting services such as public visitations and funeral services so as to meet the needs of the family of the deceased and the community of relatives and friends. Many funeral directors are also licensed as an embalmer, however, many states or provinces do not require that a funeral director also have an embalmer's license or certification. In situations where a funeral director does not have an embalmer's license, the funeral director may only participate in the funeral directing aspects of the funeral home and hire someone who is licensed to do the embalming operations.    


EMBALMER - The embalmer is one who has had the proper educational training and passed the appropriate state and/or national examinations to obtain a license or certification to practice the art and science of embalming the remains of dead human bodies. An embalmer's duties may include but are not limited to: 1). The initial cleansing and embalming of the human remains shortly after their arrival at the funeral home. 2). The dressing, cosmetic restoration of the human remains in preparation for casketing. 3). The placing of the human remains in the casket or appropriate container. Some embalmers work for several funeral directing establishments, strictly on an "as needed" basis. These embalmers are referred to as "service embalmers" or "trade embalmers"      


PRE-ARRANGEMENTS COUNSELOR - The pre-arrangements counselor or pre-need counselor is one who is specifically trained to assist families in pre-arranging funeral services. In some funeral homes the funeral director(s) are one in the same. Pre-need counselors are usually licensed to sell life and/or burial insurance to help cover these expenses. While a funeral director's license is required in most states, there are some states which permit non-licensed funeral home employees to participate in such activities.     




FUNERAL HOME - The funeral home is the actual facility where the funerals and preparations of human remains for burial or cremation take place. It is made up of several rooms in which various aspects of the funeral business are conducted. They are:


BUSINESS OFFICE : This is where financial statements and the records of funerals are kept. Some funeral home's offices would also double as a receptionist's or secretary's office, or even the personal office of the funeral director. Items such as a computer, fax machine, photocopier, phones and typewriter are commonly found in such an area.      


FUNERAL CHAPEL: This is where the actual funerals take place in the funeral home. Generally this room is a more spacious area to allow for the seating of funeral attendees. In some funeral homes, this larger chapel can be subdivided off into smaller rooms with an easily moved partitioning device to make "viewing" or "visitation rooms". Some times these smaller rooms are referred to as "reposing rooms". Items such as a casket bier, flower stands, a podium, and normal home furnishings will be in such an area.       


FUNERAL MERCHANDISE ROOM : This is the room where funeral merchandise such as caskets, burial vaults, cremation urns, burial clothing, and other memorialization items  are displayed for the families of the deceased to select from. Sometimes referred to as a "casket selection room", this room will vary in size but will generally accommodate a minimum of six caskets and related funeral merchandise. Some merchandise selection rooms are a basic conference room in which the family is seated before a large screen TV or computer monitor to view and make the various selections needed for the memorialization. Some selection rooms feature many smaller versions of caskets, usually an end cut or corner cut of the actual casket, along with an actual sample of the interior material. This permits the funeral home to display four to six times as many caskets in a tangible way as they could with actual full size units. 


PREPARATION ROOM : This is the room in which the human remains are prepared via the process of embalming, for burial or cremation. The central feature in this room would be the operating table. Generally constructed of stainless steel or porcelain, this is where the human remains is placed for the preparatory process. There are many laws which vary from state to state which determine the decor and necessary equipment in such a room. Other items commonly found in this room would be embalming chemicals and instruments, embalming injection machine(s), cots or mortuary stretchers, sinks and containers for waste disposal.


GARAGE : This is where the cars used by the funeral home are kept. The fleet may include such vehicles as a hearse, limousine, flower car, errand or first call car. Many times a funeral home will keep their grounds keeping equipment such as lawnmowers, shovels and rakes, and snow removal devices in the garage also. 




CASKET COMPANIES - The casket companies are the supplier and/or manufacturer of caskets sold by the funeral home on a retail basis. Some casket companies known as "jobbers" simply wholesale caskets and are themselves not engaged in the actual manufacturing of caskets. These "jobbers" will often have a line of burial garments and cremation urns also available to the funeral home on a wholesale basis.    


CEMETERY - A cemetery is where the actual burial of a human remains takes place. Some cemeteries have buildings on the premises which contain above ground burial spaces. These buildings are referred to as mausoleums. Some other synonymous names for cemeteries are memorial parks, memory gardens,  graveyards and necropolis. Cemeteries are usually owned and managed separately from funeral homes. However, in some states, cemeteries and funeral homes by law, can be under the same ownership and management. They are commonly referred to as combinations, or funeral home/cemetery combinations.     


CREMATORY - The crematory is where the actual cremation of the human remains takes place. The cremation takes place in a chamber commonly  called a retort. There is usually also a pulverizing machine which reduces the remaining skeletal remains of the cremated human body to a fine gravel texture. Some larger crematories will operate two or more retorts in the crematory. Some funeral homes maintain and operate their own "in house" crematories. 


HEALTH DEPARTMENT - The local health department which is or may contain the bureau of vital statistics is where death certificates are filed and permits for burial or cremation are obtained. In most states these departments are managed by the actual county. However, in more densely populated communities they may be operated by local cities or municipalities.


LIVERY COMPANY - This business supplies automobiles to the funeral home as needed. Some livery companies will also remove the body from the place of death and bring it to the designated funeral home. This process is commonly referred to as a "removal service" or "first call transfer service". Livery companies also provide hearses, limousines, sedans and flower cars to funeral homes who do not chose to operate their own fleet of cars, or simply need to supplement their own fleet for more busier times and/or larger services.   


OUTER BURIAL CONTAINER OR VAULT COMPANIES - The outer burial container or vault company is the wholesale supplier and/or manufacturer of burial vaults, or also known as outer burial containers. Vault companies also sell to cemeteries who sell vaults to the general public on a retail basis. A common companion business for many vault companies is the crematory. Some cemeteries also own and maintain there own vault companies to exclusive service their cemeteries. 

Central Institute
for Educational Advancement
P.O. Box 750491
Dayton, Ohio 45475