How to Become a Licensed Funeral Director or Embalmer in Texas

How to Become a Licensed Funeral Director or Embalmer in Texas

To give your loved one a befitting send-off, you require professionals to help you handle the body, prepare it for burial, and the funeral service itself. Therefore, you need the services of an embalmer and a licensed funeral director. While there are varying requirements for either position, in Texas, one can occupy both positions.

Is there a difference between these posts? Absolutely. An Embalmer has the responsibility of preparing a body for burial. His duties entail using a germicidal soap to thoroughly clean a body and replacing the blood with embalming fluid for preservation purposes. He may also repair the body if it has disfigurations due to an accident. Finally, he will also apply makeup to the body to make it appear alive. An Embalmer primarily works behind the scenes.

A licensed funeral director

That’s the most visible face you will see as far as it concerns burial arrangements. His work is mainly to help family members make all the necessary burial arrangements, including the location and type of funeral service and when to hold the ceremony. He may also help the bereaved family to find a reputable place to print their funeral program.

A quick look into, and you will realize that there are several openings for licensed funeral directors or Embalmers. The big question, however, is, what does it take to land in these opportunities? Once we settle this aspect, you will also get to know what you can earn while engaging in this work. Despite the numerous considerations that we will look into, the primary qualification is passion.

How to Become a licensed funeral director or Embalmer in Texas

According to the Texas Funeral Service Commission’s guidelines, there are two ways of getting a license. The first direction is by going through the TFSC’s provisional licensing program. You will obtain hands-on experience while working under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director/embalmer. The second option is to get a reciprocal license from another state.

These requirements are mandatory; Be at least 18 years old, having graduated from an authorized high school or passed GED. It’s also required to be a graduate of an accredited mortuary science school or college.

You’ll need to have completed the provisional licensing program successfully (unless reciprocating from another state) and passed the National Board Exams as well as the Texas Mortuary Law Exam (passing grade of 75 percent)

Taking up the Provisional License Program

According to Texas law and commission, there is a set of rules that you need to meet to be a successful applicant for the provisional license program. This training takes 12 months to complete.

First, you have to be at least 18 years old. Second, if you are not already a graduate, you must be enrolled in an authorized mortuary science school or college. Third, during the entire program, you should be hired by a licensed funeral director or embalmer under the direct guidance and supervision of the FDIC/EIC.

You further need to submit to a background check by the FBI and pass the Texas Mortuary Law Exam before requesting a license. Finally, you need to comply with the specifications of Chapter 651 of the Texas Occupations Code and the Texas Commission’s Rules.

If you have not or never enrolled in an accredited mortuary science school or college, you may still get a provisional license for a year. The only downside to this is that you will not get a renewal after that if you haven’t enrolled in an authorized mortuary science institution.

Provisional License Requirements for a licensed funeral director or Embalmer

You need to carefully go through all the guidelines presented to know what you need to have and what you ought to do. By going through the details, you will know the number of cases you need to handle throughout the program and submit your report to the FDIC.

These are the steps that you need to follow to make a successful application;

  • Duly fill the application form. If you answer yes to either the first or second question on the form, you will have to complete the Criminal History Questionnaire Form and consent to all the required data.
  • Make a $93 Check or Money Order payable to the Texas Funeral Service Commission. This application fee is non-refundable, which applies to each provisional license that you apply for.
  • Submit an official transcript from the High School from which you graduated. If not, you can submit a copy of your GED certificate as given by the Texas Education Agency.
  • Provide evidence indicating that you are a mortuary school graduate or an enrolled student. If the former applies to you, submit certified transcripts from your school. If you are an enrolled student, provide a letter from the school stating that you are currently their student.
  • After going through the form indicating the Role and Responsibility of the FDIC in Supervising a Provisional License Holder, sign it appropriately.
  • Once you have submitted your application form to the TFSC, then you can submit your fingerprints. To obtain your fingerprints, you can either schedule an online appointment through or call 888-467-2080
  • It is a requirement for each applicant to pass the Texas Mortuary Law Exam. That is according to Tex. Admin. Code, Title 22, Part 10, Rule 203.5 (n). You, therefore, have to indicate what you scored and when you took the exam. 

It would help if you also took note that the instructions above also apply to an Embalmer. However, there might be slight differences in the specifications hence the need to fill the correct form.

For your application to be successful, you should be careful not to submit an incomplete application or a complete form without the fees.

If you want to get both licenses for a licensed funeral director and an embalmer, you will have to fill up the two forms. You will thus receive two separate licenses upon approval.

Additional Things to Note as a Provisional Licensee 

During the entire year of undertaking the program, you will have to submit monthly reports to the FDIC. To go about this process correctly, you will have to go through the Provisional Licensee Reporting Form. It contains detailed guidelines that you need to acquaint yourself with.

For you to meet the total number of cases required during the program, you might need to work in more than one Commercial Embalming Facility. In addition, you will need to fill the Provisional Licensee Form to Change/ Add Employment. In this case, you might need an additional supervisor, especially if you are adding employment.

The Path to Licensure in Texas

You can go about the licensing process in two major ways; by taking a direct exit from the provisional licensing program or by exiting indirectly.

Direct Exit Option

As a provisional licensee, you need to submit the Provisional Exit Checklist to the commission as the first step towards leaving the program. In so doing, you affirm that you have given them the following;

  • Your certified transcript from your authorized mortuary science school or college showing the degree earned together with the date you received it.
  • Certificate from the International Conference of Funeral Examining Boards stating that you passed the National/State Board Examination with a score of 75% or higher.
  • Exam in Mortuary Law with a score of 75% or higher
  • Provisional Licensee Reporting Form(s) showing that you completed 45 cases signed by your supervisor and FDIC/EIC.

Your License status will remain provisional pending the evaluation and return of all administrative documentation.

Indirect Exit Alternative

If you cannot follow through with the first option, you can opt to finish all the education and testing requirements while unlicensed.  You will therefore not perform any services of a licensed funeral director or embalmer. However, during the period in which you have your provisional license, you must complete all the casework required by the commission.

If you meet all the requirements stated by the TFSC, you can complete the application and pay up the fee. Then, if need be, you can re-do and excel in the Texas Mortuary Law Exam and make a resubmission of the criminal background check. However, for this process to go on successfully, you must be a holder of the Texas provisional license. In addition, it must not be older than 24 months from the time you handled your last case.

You will need to submit your licensed funeral director Application Packet or the Embalmer Application Packet. If you need a double license, you will have to fill both forms; while paying an application fee of $93 for each.

You will need to provide the following information too;

  • Your certified transcript from your authorized mortuary science school or college showing the degree earned together with the date you received it.
  • Certificate from the International Conference of Funeral Examining Boards stating that you passed the National/State Board Examination with a score of 75% or higher.
  • Provisional Licensee Reporting Form(s) showing that you completed 45 cases signed by your supervisor and FDIC/EIC. (the last case should not be more than 24 months)

Reciprocal Licensing 

If you are from a different state with good standing and seeking to work in Texas, you can opt for the reciprocal licensing program. So, how does this work?

If you come from a state with similar licensing requirements as Texas, you will need to be a license holder for at least one year. However, if your state’s licensing requirements differ from the ones in Texas, you will need to be a holder of the state’s license for a minimum of five years.

To be a successful applicant, you will have to pass the Mortuary Law Exams, consent to the FBI Background, and submit a duly filled Reciprocal Application Packet.

Military Licensing

This licensing program is specific to individuals with a military affiliation. If you are either a current or former military member or a spouse to someone in the military, you might fit in this program. All you need to do is contact the TFSC for the prerequisites for speedy licensing.

After knowing all the requirements and all that you need to do, it is also crucial that I take you through the financial implications. Although we have already touched on the non-refundable application fee, note that you will need to pay up to some amount to go through the licensing program.

Here is a compilation of all the costs you will incur even as you pursue your licensing program. That also includes the license renewal charges according to the TFSC.

How Much Does an Embalmer/licensed funeral director Make in Texas? 

You must obtain all the necessary information regarding a profession before diving into it. We have already looked into what it takes to become a licensed funeral director/ embalmer.

What do you expect to get in return? Since the job posts and responsibilities vary, the remuneration might also be different. A licensed funeral director earns between $35,112 to $48,381 annually. What you earn will largely depend on your level of education, the number of certifications, skills, and experience in the field. 

An Embalmer’s salary ranges between $23,630 and $65,710. This range depends on an individual’s seniority in the field. Depending on your level of employment, you can earn up to $31.59 per hour.

How Long Does It Take to Become a licensed funeral director/Embalmer?

You will need to go through a mortuary science degree program in an accredited institution as an embalmer/licensed funeral director. This course typically takes about two years. After that, you will go through a licensing program with the TFSC, which takes one year. That makes it a total of three years before you can get a license to practice.

licensed funeral director/Embalming Schools Near Me

If you are looking into beginning a career in Embalming, you need to enroll in an accredited institution, as this will give you an easy time seeking your license. You need the best and most trusted guideline to help you make an informed decision on the institution to join.

Here are some reputable schools in Texas that I came across;

  • Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, Dallas, TX.
  • Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston, TX.
  • San Antonio College, Sann Antonio, TX.
  • Amarillo College, Amarillo TX.
  • Northeast Texas Community College, Mount Pleasant, TX.
  • Funeral Service Commission, Austin, TX.
  • Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX.

Depending on your location, you can join a study program within your locality as you advance your career. The above schools are just a few on the list. Feel free to explore even more.

Summing Up

A career as a licensed funeral director/ Embalmer has great potential. You only need to be passionate about it, considering the impact of your work on bereaved families. You will need to follow and fulfill the TFSC’s guidelines and requirements. 

The rules require you to graduate from an accredited mortuary science institution, or you must prove your enrollment in such a school. You will thus be in a position to join the provisional licensing program, which lasts for a year.

After the program, you can choose either a direct or indirect provisional license exit plan. However, until the commission evaluates and returns the administrative documentation, your license status will remain provisional.

If you are from a different state and desire to practice in Texas, you will only need to meet the requirements as stated above. All in all, if you want to have both the embalmer and licensed funeral director license, you are free to apply for both separately.

Once you have obtained your license, you can join the workforce since nothing bars you. Then, depending on your prowess in the field, you can earn a decent living.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings