Funeral Home Assistant Certification Course
Chapter Two
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

Chapter Two



BIER - An article of furniture that the casket is displayed on. It can also be the platform inside the hearse or casket compartment flower car on which the casket is placed.


BIER PINS - Adjustable devices in the hearse or casket compartment flower car which hold the casket securely in place on either end.


BULLETIN - A  specially printed paper which out lines the order of a funeral ceremony or service. It may also include music selections and special readings. For some funerals this item may be prepared and supplied by a religious organization, church, synagogue, temple or mosque.     


BURIAL GARMENT - Specially designed clothing sold by the funeral home to the family of the deceased to be used as apparel for the deceased in the funeral and burial process. 


BURIAL PERMIT - A document issued by the local registrar or sub-registrar of the health department and/or vital statistics bureau that gives permission to the funeral director to bury the human remains. In most states the permit is kept permanently at the cemetery office with the burial records. 


BURIAL VAULT - An enclosure used in ground burials at cemeteries to enclose the casket. Usually made of concrete, Fiberglas, steel or copper. Service the dual purpose of holding the grave level, and to offer protection to the casket from soil elements and water. Other names : outer burial container, vault


CASKET - A container used to bury the dead human body in. Typically constructed of wood, metal or fiberglas and lined with a cloth material of some sort. Other names : coffin, sarcophagus 


CASKET SPRAY - The main arrangement of flowers general endowed by the closest family members  or friends to the deceased. Usually rests on or is placed immediately adjacent to the casket. Other names  : floral spray, casket piece


CEMETERY - The actual grounds or real estate on which the burial of the casketed human remains or the urn containing the cremains takes place. Other names : memorial park, memory gardens, graveyard, necropolis.


CHURCH TRUCK - A folding device with four wheels, easily transported and used at church funerals to support the casket inside the church during funeral ceremonies. Other names : portable bier, folding bier


COLUMBARIUM - A grouping of niches used for the permanent storage of urns and/or cremains. See "niche"


COT - A platform device on four wheels, usually with folding legs so that it may be transported easily in a car, used to transfer the human remains from one location to another. Other names : mortuary stretcher, one man cot  


CREMAINS - The cremated remains of a dead human body. The contents of an urn. In most states cremains are generally considered to be a "legally disposed" remains in most states or provinces. This means that they can be kept or placed wherever the family or next of kin so desires. Burial, inurnment, or scattering is not required by law. Other names : ashes 


CREMATORY - The actual facility where dead human bodies are cremated.


CRYPT - The individual space in a mausoleum where the casketed human remains is placed and kept.


DEATH CERTIFICATE - A legal document of public record which properly identifies the deceased and states the actual cause of death, and the method and place of final disposition of the deceased. It is signed by the attending physician or coroner, the funeral director and the local health department registrar. The original is customarily kept on file at the local bureau of vital statistics or health department. Such governmental entities generally issue “certified copies” of the death certificate to those needing them to procure the final affairs and estate matters of the deceased.


DISASTER POUCH - A large heavy duty plastic or vinyl pouch used to place the human remains in for transport. Sometimes in severe cases of dismemberment or decomposition, the human remains is placed in a disaster pouch and then into the casket for burial. Other names : body bag, pouch   


EMBALM - The act of disinfecting and preserving the dead human body by internal and/or external chemical injection or treatment so as to make it safe and tolerable to the general public for funeralization and/or burial. Other aspects and techniques including restoration and cosmetic treatments may also be a part of and enhance the embalming process.    


EMBALMER - One who is licensed to embalm and prepare human remains for burial. Also read the previous description.. Other names : mortician, undertaker.


EMBALMING MACHINE - An electrical pumping device, which has a reservoir where embalming chemicals are mixed. This mixture is injected into the dead human body to effect the embalming process. Other names : injection machine, injector


FLOWER CAR - A vehicle custom built to transport flowers in the funeral process usually from the place of the funeral ceremony to the actual grave or entombment site.  Two types include the open well style, sometimes referred to as "western" style flower car, and the enclosed casket compartment style, sometimes referred to as "eastern" style flower car. Some funeral homes use a van or station wagon for floral transportation. Other names : floral coach, flower transport vehicle


FLOWER STAND - A stand or small platform on which floral tributes are displayed close to and around the casket or cremation urn.


FUNERAL HOME - The facility where preparations of human remains for burial or cremation takes place and where funerals are arranged and conducted from. Also see page 6. Other names : memorial home, funeral chapel, mortuary, funeral parlor, undertaking establishment.


FUNERAL DIRECTOR - One who is licensed to arrange for and conduct funerals, burials and cremations, and to operate and manage a funeral home. Also read the previous description. Other names : memorial specialist, undertaker, mortician   


HEADSTONE - See "monument"


HEARSE - A vehicle used to transport a casket and/or dead human body from one location to another. Other names : casket conveyance vehicle, casket coach, funeral coach, coach


HUMAN REMAINS - The physical body of a dead human being. Other names :corpse, cadaver, body, the remains, the deceased


HYDRAULIC LIFT - A mechanical device in the funeral home used to lift either human remains or caskets onto either tables, biers or trucks.


INURNMENT - The act of putting cremains in an urn. See "cremains" and "urn"


LEAD CAR - A vehicle used primarily to lead the funeral procession to the church and/or cemetery. Typically this is a four door sedan. Other names : funeral escort car


LECTERN - The stand or podium that the clergy or officiant stands behind while addressing the funeral attendees and performing the funeral ceremonies. Other names : pulpit 


LIMOUSINE - A vehicle used to transport the members of the family of the deceased to  various destinations throughout the funeral process. Limousines will have either four or six side doors.


LIVERY - A company who provides professional cars  to a funeral home on a rental agreement. Some livery companies also provide personnel and drivers with their cars.  Also see page 8.


MAUSOLEUM - A building dedicated to the above ground burial of the dead human body. Each space for a casketed human remains is referred to as a crypt. Many mausoleums also have one or more columbarium within in them for the containment of cremains. See "columbarium" and "crypt".


MEMORIAL FOLDERS - Small specially printed folders that are given to the funeral attendees as a personal memorial keepsake. They are usually printed on the inside with the deceased's name , date of birth and death and poem or passage of scripture. See "register stand".


MONUMENT - A marker or identification of a specific grave or groups of graves by family in a cemetery. Generally they are designed in granite or bronze, and are inscribed with names and birth and death dates. Other names : headstone, memorial marker, grave marker, tombstone  




NICHE - A small cubicle or space dedicated to the housing or protection of an urn and/or cremains. Niches are normally found in mausoleums, however, some funeral homes and cemeteries will maintain their own block of niches commonly referred to as a columbarium.


OPERATING TABLE - This is the central feature in the preparation room on which the human remains is placed for embalming and preparation for burial or cremation. It is generally made of porcelain or stainless steel. Also see page 7.


PALL -A blanket like piece of material placed over the entire casket to indicate religious significance during the actual funeral ceremony. Typically used at a catholic funeral. Also see page 21


PRAYER CARDS - Small specially printed cards that are given to the funeral attendees as a personal memorial keepsake. They are usually printed on the backside with the deceased name, date of birth and death and a special prayer, scripture or poem. See "register stand"


PRAYER RAIL - A article of furniture used by funeral attendees to kneel on for the purpose of prayer and meditation. It is usually placed close to or adjacent to the casket. Other names : kneeler, 


PROFESSIONAL CAR -  Any vehicle used by a funeral home in the funeral process, usually definitively narrowed to the hearse, limousine, flower car, lead car, or service vehicle.


REGISTER BOOK -  The book which funeral attendees sign to register their attendance at the visitation and/or funeral. This book also contains biographical information about the deceased and is given to the family of the deceased at theend of the funeral process for them to  have as a memorial.


REGISTER STAND - A podium like stand usually placed in the entry way of the funeral home on which a register book is placed for attendees to register their attendance at the visitation and/or funeral for the family of the deceased.  Thereis usually a display of memorial folders or prayer cards so that the attendees may take one.    


REMOVAL - The act of going to the place of death and removing the remains from it and transporting them back to the funeral home. Other names : first call run, transfer of remains


SERVICE VEHICLE - A car or van generally used to make removals in. It may also double as a flower transportation or a vehicle used to run necessary funeral home errands in.


SHROUD - A garment placed on a dead human body to prepare it for funeralization and burial, more commonly used in the feminine gender.


URN - A container in which the cremated remains of a human body are placed in for either temporary or permanent storage. Urns are made of a variety of materials including wood, metal, and marble, and are of various shapes and sizes.  See "niche" , "columbarium" 


VAULT - See "burial vault".


VESTMENTS – Robes and other articles of apparel general worn by the clergy or priests of a particular religious organization during a funeral or memorial serve to help identify them as such. 


VIEWING - See "visitation"


VISITATION - A time specifically set aside for family members and friends to gather usually at a funeral home or church to share with and comfort one another and/or view the remains, if possible. Generally this event takes place prior to the actual funeral service or memorial service.

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