SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In order to get licensed as a funeral director in California, applicants must meet several requirements, pass a licensing examination, and pay a yearly licensing fee.

The examination fee covers several topics including, “the signs of death, the manner by which death may be determined, the laws governing the preparation, burial, and disposal of human remains and the shipment of bodies dying from infectious or contagious diseases, and local health and sanitary ordinances and regulations relating to funeral directing and embalming,” according to the Cemetery and Funeral Act.

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Applicants must meet three requirements:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree, or equivalent
  • Have committed no acts, or crimes, constituting grounds for denial of licensure

As for operating a funeral home, the law requires funeral establishments to have a separate building or separate portion of a building that is used specifically for preparation and arrangements for the funeral, transportation, burial, or disposition of human remains, including a suitable room to store human remains, a preparation room with sanitary flooring, drainage, and ventilation, along with all needed supplies for the preparation, sanitation, or embalming of remains.

Only a licensed embalmer, an apprentice embalmer under the supervision of a licensed embalmer, or a student embalmer under the supervision of a licensed embalmer may embalm human remains.

Per the California Code of Regulations, “No embalming, preparation or storage room shall be located in any public storage, mini-storage, mini-warehouse, multi-unit storage complex or similar facility used by members of the general public for the storage of goods.” It goes on to say, “Every licensed funeral establishment and funeral director who holds unembalmed human remains for a period longer than twenty-four (24) hours shall cause the body to be refrigerated at an approved facility with sufficient capacity.”

California has two colleges offering a Mortuary Science degree- American River College in Sacramento and Cypress College in Cypress.

The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau oversees all licensed funeral homes in California.