Planning a funeral involves a lot of detail – organizing transportation, filing legal documents, selecting religious officials and rituals, the list goes on. All the while, families arranging these end-of-life services are filled with grief and emotion. They need someone to ease the planning process and to lean on while making such difficult decisions. This is where a funeral service director, or mortician, comes into play. Funeral service directors help coordinate funeral arrangements, counseling families and friends of the deceased throughout the process.
While it’s not the first job that comes to mind for many, working in funeral services is one of the most rewarding career paths you can pursue. You have the opportunity to offer meaningful support to people and empower them during some of the most difficult times of their lives. Through a funeral service education, you also have the opportunity to explore fascinating topics in mortuary science, such as cultural death practices around the world, the psychology of mourning, and thanato-chemistry.
Pursuing a Funeral Service Education
If you are interested in pursuing a mortuary science career, it is important you first understand the value of a funeral service education – and not only because it’s required! A funeral service education will teach you the skills and techniques needed to become a funeral director, from the initial death call to the final disposition of the deceased’s remains. A college education will also prepare you – and make you eligible – to take the national board exam, a requirement in the funeral service industry.
But this is just the beginning. In addition to the skills learned and knowledge gained, this educational path will connect you with potential employers and careers. Many mortuary science programs offer hands-on internship opportunities in real-life funeral service settings, where you can learn from experienced professionals in this esteemed industry. This is, perhaps, the greatest takeaway of all.
Funeral Director Requirements in Connecticut
The funeral director education requirements vary by state, along with the licensing and training pre-requisites. Below, we outline the requirements needed to become a funeral director in Connecticut.
- An associate degree from an accredited program.
According to the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA), the only educational requirement for funeral directors in CT is an associate degree in mortuary science or funeral services. This degree must be obtained from an institution that is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education, such as Goodwin College, and will make you eligible to pursue your funeral director or embalmer license in the state.
- Successful completion of the national board exam.
After graduating with an associate degree, you will be expected to take and pass the national Conference Board examinations in funeral arts and sciences. This will demonstrate your competency in the funeral services field, and will grant you a permit to pursue a full-time apprenticeship.
- One year of practical training.
With a permit for an apprenticeship in hand, you can start gaining practical experience in the field. As the Connecticut Department of Public Health outlines, you must complete one year of practical experience in full-time (paid) employment, under the supervision of a licensed embalmer or funeral director. You will then be eligible “to be examined upon the Connecticut state law and regulations” and, if qualified by the state’s Department of Public Health, be licensed as a funeral director.
If you would like to obtain your embalming license from the CT Department of Public Health after your training (because you already 90% there!), you can take this exam. This involves a written examination on the Connecticut public health laws and regulations (pertaining to the activities of an embalmer), as well as a practical embalming examination on a cadaver. Successful completion will license you to practice embalming in Connecticut.
Funeral Director Continuing Education Requirements
According to the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS), licensed embalmers and funeral directors are required to receive continuing education in order to maintain their license each year. This involves 6-hours of continuing funeral service education, which can be in subjects such as:
- Bereavement care
- Business management and administration
- Religious customs and traditions related to funerals
- Cremation and cemetery services
- Natural sciences
- Restorative arts and embalming
- Federal and state laws governing funeral service
- Funeral service merchandising
- Sanitation and infection control
- Organ donation
- Hospice care
Continuing education for embalmers and funeral directors can be obtained a variety of ways, such as through a licensed hospital or healthcare institution, or a regionally-accredited mortuary science school. This is a mandatory requirement that will help keep you up-to-date on industry trends and techniques.
Goodwin College’s Mortuary Science degree program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Courses are offered on campus in the Greater Hartford area, and in full- or part-time formats. To learn about this educational path, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling 800-889-3282 today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.