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The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates

A Division of the American Academy of Grief Counseling



Frequently asked Questions and Responses (FAQs)

Welcome to the FAQs section for the Funeral Service Associate Certification. This area is provided to you as a source of information that may be more clarified, related to questions you may have in regards to our certification program. Information regarding recertification, as well as information about our online continuing education courses, is also provided. We highly recommend that you first thoroughly review all of the information on our website, under the main page for Funeral Service Associate Certification. Access main page. If after reviewing all of the provided information and this FAQs section, any other questions may be addressed by completing our request for information form online (access info form). Thank you for your interest in our Funeral Service Associate Certification Program.

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What is Certification?

Response: certification is a voluntary process, which is provided by a well organized organization, that through its qualified advisory boards, develops comprehensive and quality standards for the practice of a type of specialty. The developed standards address high quality requirements for the practice of a certain specialty. The defined standards speak to educational and/or practice requirements, any required prerequisites, and the need to adhere to a defined code of ethics for the practice specialty. Certification is a voluntary process. It is different than any type of licensing. Certification is one means by which para- professionals may be publicly recognized as achieving a prescribed level of education, knowledge base and practice skills for a certain related specialty. Certification also assists employer organizations and clients in their assessment of appropriate qualifications for candidates seeking positions in funeral homes, cemeteries, or related facilities. It is commonly held, today, that certification by a very well organized professional organization, is fast becoming a "gold standard" for specialty practices. Certification testifies and provides a verification of defined educational requirements, adherence to a solid code of ethics, and in many instances prerequisites for the practice as a funeral service associate and related services.

What are the criteria/standards I will need to meet to achieve certification?

Response: The educational criteria and standards are well and clearly defined within our website. Please access our main page to preview these requirements. Access here.

May I apply for and be conferred certification if I have been practicing as a funeral service associate or assistant, without the need to meet the educational requirements?

Response: Yes. The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates does recognize that individuals have been practicing in funeral homes and other related agencies, as assistants to funeral service professionals. As such, we do offer an option for those with significant experiences working in the funeral services sector to apply for and receive Certification as a Certified Funeral Associate. Full information on this option is available for preview on the main pages for funeral service associate certification (access here). Candidate seeking this option must meet all defined criteria and must have completed an appropriate course on grief and mourning, or have successfully completed our course on grief, mourning and bereavement. If you feel you might meet the criteria of this option, be sure to carefully preview the criteria on our main page before making application.

Over the years, I have completed many seminars and continuing education courses related to funeral services. Will these apply toward the education requirements for certification?

Response: Your past completed education may well qualified you as meeting the standards/criteria to apply for certification. To establish approval of your past education completion it is necessary that you submit, with your completed application, verification of all completed seminars and/or courses. This includes college-level courses and or continuing education courses. Once received, the administrative board and staff will review all of your submissions and verifications and make the decision as to whether or not your past education achievements meets the standards and criteria for certification. You will be notified by postal mail within 7 to 14 days regarding the decision of the acceptance or disapproval of any past education completions. In many instances, submitted verifications of education directly related to funeral service associate/practice are accepted. Most rejections occur because the education completed was not directly related to the practice specialty of funeral services or there is not enough broad-based knowledge related to multiple dimensions of funeral services and practice.

What is the major practice focus of a certified funeral associate or assistant?

Response: a Certified Funeral Associate/Assistant is one who is very well versed in knowledge of funeral services delivery. This person has a good solid knowledge base and and often times, many experiences in assisting licensed funeral service professionals (directors and embalmers) in providing full-service funeral services and care. Funeral service associates/assistants may have specific duties or may be employed by funeral homes and directors to provide a broad-base of assistance services. A Certified Funeral Service Associate is NOT a licensed funeral director and/or licensed embalmer. They are a para-professional who assists in funeral services under the specific supervision and direction of a licensed funeral director and/or embalmer. In no instance does a funeral associate practice independently or practice any part of funeral services where a state of country requires proper education and licensing. Funeral Associates are "assistants" to professional licensed directors/embalmers and in no instance do they take the place of such professionals.

Certified Funeral Associates practice in a wide array of funeral services delivery. Many practice at higher levels or practice in one major dimension of funeral services. Areas and duties that they may be involved in include (not necessarily limited to): assisting in body removal, assisting with the intake process, contacting and communicating with families or survivors of the deceased, assisting the licensed funeral director in the phase of planning a funeral, communicate with clergy, communicate with cemeteries and/or crematories, gather information and /or write obituaries and other notices, print prayer cards, receive and set up floral arrangements, escort families from their homes to the funeral home, assist in the embalming room, assist with clothing and casketing procedures, file notices of death, assist families and survivors with insurance issues and procedures, provide secretarial services to the funeral director, assist families/survivors with specific needs during viewing's/visitations and the actual funeral services, driving funeral vehicles in a funeral procession, providing follow-up calls or visits to families/survivors following a funeral service, and other related duties as assigned by the supervising funeral director or embalmer. The overall duties of the funeral associate are defined by the supervising licensed funeral director or licensed embalmer within the limits of state laws and or the laws of a specific country or province.

Certified Funeral Service Associates may also work for cemeteries providing services of selling burial plots and other related services, as well as setting up cemetery chapels for services and working in liaison with area funeral homes and funeral directors. Some funeral service associates may be in positions of funeral service sales and may assist in pre-planning services, or provide pre-planning services, if and where allowed by law.


Does the American institute of funeral service associates provide approval's for education programs whose graduates would qualify for being conferred certification?

Response: Yes. We do provide a full program approval process for those education facilities and or organizations providing education related to funeral services specifically for the associate role. Applications for program approval are thoroughly reviewed and must adhere to the defined standards and criteria as established by the advisory board. Once a particular education program has been approved it is then posted as an approved program on our website (view approved programs). Graduates of programs we have approved may apply for certification. Any formal education program offering funeral service associate practice and instruction, education, meeting our standards, may apply for approval of their program. Once a program is approved, graduates of the program may apply for certification.

The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates also provides a full program of continuing education courses, that when successfully completed, qualifies one to apply for and receive certification. All of the courses must be successfully completed. The courses are all provided online, with online classrooms. You may preview our program on our website (view program).


Response: There is a two-phase process. In order to provide clear and sufficient information on the process we have developed a separate page that defines the process. You may access this information on the certification process at this link: click here.

How can I make application?

Response: Making application is an easy process. We provide on this website a link to a printable application. Those wishing to make application may access this link, print out the application form, completed it, and submit it to our office for review. You may access online applications at this link. Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed. All applications that are submitted must be complete and include all required documents and verifications as specified for review and consideration of certification conferral.

Once I have achieved certification, must I ever be re certified?

Response: Yes. A conferred certification has a period of 4 years. At the end of the four-year period the certification will expire. The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates provides a full program for recertification. Detailed information on the criteria to be re certified, after the three-year initial certification period, is provided on our website. Access here. (available soon)


Our organization is sponsoring a one-day seminar on a topic directly related to funeral services. Does the American institute of health care professionals provide for program approvals for CEU credits?

Response: Yes. We do offer a full program for the approval of education courses, seminars, and other related learning activities related to the topic of spirituality and practice. If an application for approval is approved, then the sponsoring organization may declare on its CEU certificates that the program has been up reviewed and approved by the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates. More information is available on our website, access here.

I am currently certified by the American institute of funeral service associates. I know I am required to achieve additional education in funeral services in order to qualify for recertification in the future. Do you offer any continuing education courses that I may take to meet my recertification requirements?

Response: Yes. We will soon have available to all certified members, applicable online continuing education courses that will meet the standards and educational requirements for application for re-certification. Please check back in the near future for listed courses.


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