FAQ

Q. What are the requirements to become an apprentice?

A. To be an apprentice in South Carolina you submit the application and fees for an Apprenticeship Certificate. In order to qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and a full-time employee in a funeral home where you will be working under the direct supervision of a licensed Funeral Director and/or Embalmer in a licensed funeral home. Supervisors may not have more than two apprentices at a time.

Q. Is there a time limit to how long an individual can be an apprentice?

A. The minimum requirement for an apprenticeship is twenty-four months. If an apprentice does not complete the required number and type of cases and/or months, that apprentice may renew his/her certificate of apprenticeship for one year at a time, but they cannot renew the apprenticeship certificate more than three times.

Q. What are the requirements an apprentice must accomplish during their apprenticeship?

In order to successfully complete an apprenticeship, the apprentice must demonstrate that he/she worked under the supervision of a funeral director and/or embalmer, licensed in South Carolina, and that they completed 50 funerals and/or 50 embalming cases during that twenty-four month period. The funeral and/or embalming cases completed must meet certain board-required criteria. The apprentice must submit quarterly reporting reports to the Board no more than thirty days after the end of the quarter. These quarterly reporting forms must show the dates the apprenticeship worked and document the cases and tasks that the apprentice assisted with during that quarter.

Q. What are the requirements to become a licensed Embalmer?

A. To license as an embalmer in South Carolina, you must meet all the requirements below:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Not been convicted of a violent crime or found guilty of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
  • Have either a HS Diploma or a GED
  • Successfully completed a Board approved embalming course from a college accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education
  • Completed a minimum of 2 years of full time service as an apprentice under the direct supervision of an active licensed South Carolina Embalmer
  • Either pass the National Embalming Exam or South Carolina State Embalming exam with a minimum score of 75
  • Successfully pass the South Carolina Law exam with a minimum passing score of 75
  • Complete and mail the application along with the fees and all required documentation to the Board.

Q. What are the requirements to become a licensed Funeral Director?

To license as a funeral director in South Carolina, you must meet all the requirements below:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Not been convicted of a violent crime or found guilty of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
  • Have either a HS Diploma or a GED
  • Completed a minimum of 2 years of full time service as an apprentice under the direct supervision of an active licensed South Carolina Funeral Director
  • Successfully completed a one-year course in an accredited mortuary college or successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or successful completion of 60 semester hours at a regionally college or university, including a minimum of 24 semester hours divided among at least 4 of the following areas:

(1) Psychological Sciences:  This area may include courses in General Psychology, Guidance/Counseling, General Sociology, and other Psychology courses; and

(2) Business:  This area may include courses in Accounting, Business Law, Math/Logic, Business Management, Typing, and Computer Science; and

(3) English: This area may include English, English Literature, and English Composition; and

(4) Natural/Biological/Physical Sciences:  This area may include courses in Chemistry, Biology, Pathology, Microbiology, and Physiology; and

(5) Religion:  This area may include courses in Religion, Bible, and Bible History; and

  • If you did not go to a mortuary college you would then have to pass the State Funeral Director and State Law Exams with minimum score of 75
  • If you went to the mortuary college and took the dual course (Funeral director and embalmer) then you have to pass the National Funeral Director exam or the State Funeral Director exam with a minimum score of 75
  • Successfully pass the South Carolina Law exam with a minimum passing score of 75
  • Complete and mail the application with all required fees and documentation to the Board.

Q. How can I tell if the college that I want to attend is regionally accredited?

A. Generally a college or university's accreditation will be on the school's website and on their transcripts. If you are uncertain if a school is regionally accredited or not, you should contact the school to find out which accreditations they have.

Q. What are the regional accreditation associations?

A. There are six regional accreditation associations in the United States. They are:

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Q. Where are the locations of the approved colleges where I can complete the required courses to become either a Funeral Director or Embalmer?

A. A list of all accredited Mortuary Science programs is on the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards’ website, https://theconferenceonline.org/resources/directories/accredited-schools/.

Q. How often are exams given?

A. Since the exams are given by a third-party exam provider, the candidate can schedule their exams based on testing center availability. We no longer offer the exams in-house, which means we no longer only offer the exams on certain days of the year.

Q. Where can I take the exam in South Carolina?

A. Pearson VUE currently serves as the testing provider for Board of Funeral Service exams. You can locate your nearest testing center by going to https://wsr.pearsonvue.com/testtaker/registration/SelectTestCenterProximity/ICFSEB/1202223.

Q. How do I apply to take the exams?

A. Once we receive your completed application to license and verify that you meet all requirements, we will forward your approval to sit for the exams on to the International Conference of Funeral Service Boards. We will notify you that you are eligible, and you will go to http://www.theconferenceonline.org to complete your exam application.

Q. When will I know my scores and receive my license?

A. You will know whether or not you passed the exam once you finish taking it, but we will not receive your scores for several days. Once we receive your scores and your application is complete, your license should be issued within 5-10 business days.

Q. Can a Funeral Director or Embalmer licensed in another state transfer to South Carolina?

A. A licensee coming from another jurisdiction whose requirements the Board finds to be substantially similar at the time of licensure may license in South Carolina within five years of his/her original date of licensure after submitting a complete application, coming before the Board for an application hearing, and passing the South Carolina law exam. Applicants who are coming from another state or jurisdiction and who have been licensed and engaged in the practice of funeral service for at least five years may license after submitting a complete application and passing the South Carolina law exam.

Q. Is residency of South Carolina required to receive a license in the state?

A. No. Residency is not required for licensure, but to manage an establishment you must be a resident of South Carolina and have been a resident for a minimum of one year of the date immediately preceding your application to serve as a manager.

Q. Does the Funeral Board regulate cemeteries?
A. The South Carolina Perpetual Care Cemetery Board regulates cemeteries.

Q. Can a person manage more than one funeral home location?

A. Yes. A person may manage multiple locations provided it is owned by the same entity, and the person lives within in a 25 mile radius of the facilities managed.

Q. Is embalming necessary in the cremation process?

A. No. Embalming is not necessary in the cremation process. However, if you plan on having a viewing of the deceased before cremation, you may prefer to have the body embalmed.

Q. What must I do to renew a license that has lapsed?

A. If the license has lapsed for less than 5 years you must complete an application to reinstate your license, pay the required fees, and submit proof that you completed the required number of continuation hours for the period your license was lapsed. In addition to the current renewal fee, reinstatement fees are $120 plus the cost of the renewal for each year the license lapsed. Please call our office at 803-896-4497, or email us at contact.funeral@llr.sc.gov for an application and to find out what your total fees will be.

If the license has been in a lapsed status for more than five years, you must reapply and meet all of the requirements, including re-examination, at the time of the application, for licensure. All applications to reinstate a license which has been lapsed for more than five years must appear the Board.

Q. What must we do if our facility’s manager resigns, dies, or becomes incapacitated?

A. You must inform the Board immediately by emailing us at contact.funeral@llr.sc.gov, mailing a letter to the Board, or faxing a letter to the Board, and you must submit an application for a new manager within thirty (30) days of the death, resignation, or incapacitation of the old manager.

Q. When I prepare obituaries, can I include our funeral home’s logo?

A. Yes, you may include the funeral home’s logo in obituaries, but the funeral home must pay for the portion of the obituary containing the logo.

Q. In regards to General Price Lists (GPL), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines include “embalming if required by law.” Since embalming is not required by South Carolina law, how do I handle this when discussing funeral plans with families?

A. While South Carolina law does not require embalming and you cannot tell your customers that they are required to embalm, you may make recommendations to your customers about embalming as it suits the customer’s needs. For example, if someone passes away on a Sunday and does not plan to have the funeral right away, they may want to embalm the deceased as a means of delaying decomposition until time for the service if refrigeration is not available.

Q. Where can I find the most recent version of "Complying with the Funeral Rule"?

A. The Federal Trade Commission updates “Complying with the Funeral Rule” periodically. You can directly access that publication and/or order a printed copy from the FTC at no charge here: https://bulkorder.ftc.gov/publications/complying-funeral-rule.

Q. Is it true that the Federal Trade Commission no longer requires the phrase, “cremation if relevant,” on the General Price List under direct cremation?

A. Yes, the Federal Trade Commission, in its latest “Complying with the Funeral Rule,” which was published in April 2015, no longer includes the language, “cremation if relevant,” under direct cremation on the General Price List.

Q. Recently storms and flooding have caused caskets in my area to become disinterred, what should I do?

A. Citizens who encounter a disinterred casket should immediately contact their local coroner or call 911 to report the specific location of the sighting so that professionals can be dispatched to appropriately recover, identify and rebury the casket. We ask that individuals not make contact with the remains out of respect and for health and safety reasons. It is the cemetery owner's responsibility to re-inter the caskets once flood waters recede.

Q. A representative of a transportation company called and would like to use my funeral home's embalming room to embalm a body that they are transporting out of state. The representative is a licensed embalmer. Can I let them use my funeral home's embalming room?

A. Because transportation companies are not licensed funeral establishments, they cannot embalm bodies. Allowing a transportation company to use your facilities may mean that you are aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of funeral service, and you may be sanctioned by the Board for doing so.