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Why and How People Become Funeral Directors in Ontario

License Funeral Director OntarioThis month is the celebration of 100 years of Funeral Professionals. To the dedicated men and women who feel a sense of calling to become a funeral director, we salute you.  Have you ever wondered why and how people become Funeral Directors here in Ontario?

Often the students in the Funeral Services Program at Humber College or College Boreal express a sense of duty to learn how to assist families through the funeral process at one of the most painful and emotional times of their lives.

Funeral Services is a self-regulated profession, under the auspices of the Ontario Board of Funeral Services.

Potential students must first complete two 40 observation periods at a licensed Funeral Home. During this observation period the students have the opportunity to observe many of the day to day operations of funeral homes.  Some of the activities they are likely to observe and participate in are assisting in the parking lot, visitation period and during the funeral service. After these observation periods an evaluation is sent in regarding their potential suitability to work in the funeral services profession.

In addition to successful completion of the observation period, the applicant must have a valid driver’s license; submit proof of TB and HIV vaccinations.

If the applicant is accepted into the two year College Program then there are academic and internship requirements.

The first year is academic at the College and the curriculum includes Embalming Theory and Practical work, Legislation, Ethics, Business Management, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Pathology.  During this first year there are tests and assignments that must be successfully completed.

Students moving into the second year of the program, work as an intern at a licensed Funeral Home. Under the supervision of their Preceptor, they will take on more everyday roles and duties in the funeral home.  At a minimum the students must complete 50 embalming cases and write an embalming report for each of these cases.  They also must complete 5 pre-need and 5 at-need arrangements.  In addition to the hands on work during this year, the students have 4 written or on line assignments during each term.  This is a very busy year for most students, as they often find the pace emotionally and physically challenging.

With successful completion of the second year requirements the students then move into the 3 final qualification requirements.  First the student must complete and pass an embalming practical examination to demonstrate their competence in embalming.  Second they must pass the legislation and regulations examination with the Ontario Board of Funeral Services and finally they must pass the final academic examination with the College program.

After all this work and dedication the student is now a licensed funeral director.  In Ontario there are two classes of Funeral Director’s license. The Class 1 license allows the Funeral Director to embalm a body and the Class 2 license does not allow the Funeral Director to embalm a body.

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click image to enlarge

It takes a great deal of emotional and physical fortitude to become a licensed Funeral Director and I am very honored that I work with my colleagues to provide exceptional service to families at one of the most emotionally and physically draining times of their lives.

Do you know of someone who is interested in becoming a Funeral Director? I would love your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a message right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


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