A BRIEF EXPLANATION ON THE EMBALMING AND FUNERAL DIRECTING APPRENTICESHIP PROCESS
K.S.A. 65-1701a(c) and 65-1714 (b), state that In order to be eligible for licensure as an embalmer and funeral director, applicants shall serve an apprenticeship of one year under the supervision of a licensed embalmer and licensed Kansas funeral director.
K.A.R. 63-1-3 and 63-2-12 require the filing of quarterly reports of progress with the board. Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship, an embalmer license shall be issued by the board upon payment of the prorated initial licensure fee. Upon successful completion of the funeral directing apprenticeship and passing of a written examination, a funeral director license shall be issued by the board upon payment of the prorated initial licensure fee. The board reviews the progress reports of the apprentice and supervising licensees when considering approval of apprenticeships.
Some other legal requirements include that the embalming apprenticeship must be completed within two (2) years following the successful completion of the national examination or equivalent (approved by the board), and all apprentice embalmers serving apprenticeships in the State of Kansas will be registered as Student Embalmers and pay the appropriate fees – otherwise the apprenticeship shall be canceled. There is no such requirement for the funeral directing apprenticeship. Both apprenticeships must be served working on a full-time basis! Apprentices working at more than one funeral home may be required to submit time sheets to the board – to ensure that both embalming and funeral directing duties are being performed appropriately.
The one year embalming apprenticeship does not officially begin until after passing the written national examination and filing the appropriate registration papers with the board. There is a $100 fee for a student embalmer registration which is good for two (2) years. Note that the apprenticeship does not officially begin until the day the application is filed with the board. In other words, your apprenticeship does not automatically begin just because you have passed the written national examination. There is a $150 application fee when applying for licensure as an assistant funeral director (apprentice funeral director). The licensure renewal fee is prorated depending on the first letter of your last name. The written funeral director examination is administered by the board upon completion of the one-year apprenticeship. During the course of this one-year apprenticeship, also served on a full-time basis, apprentices must work with a minimum of 25 families. Embalming and funeral directing apprenticeships can be served at the same time.
Finding the proper employment: It's much easier to secure employment PRIOR to graduating from mortuary college and taking the national examination. Funeral homes looking for help will often notify the board, the school and/or the association's office. Otherwise, it's up to you to contact funeral homes when seeking employment. Students planning on serving both embalmer and funeral director apprenticeships at the same time should visit with employers to see if there will be any opportunities to work with families. By asking up front–prior to accepting a position--you will have a better understanding of what to expect. Some individuals are more interested in money, benefits, time-off...and forget to inquire about the job itself. Making arrangements with families is not required as an apprentice/assistant funeral director, but working with a minimum of 25 families in some manner (in-states, services...) is.
Once you have registered as an apprentice, you and your supervising licensee will each receive separate packets containing four (4) quarterly progress reports. Any quarterly progress report not submitted within ten (10) days of the quarter – by either the apprentice or supervising licensee – will result in denial of that quarter and an extension of apprenticeship. The board uses these reports to monitor your progress, and it is important to take appropriate time when filling them out!
Changing jobs during the apprenticeship is perfectly normal. The apprenticeship is a job--and like any job, situations can occur (better opportunities, personality conflicts...) that require the apprentice to seek/obtain employment at other funeral homes. When terminating from a supervising licensee--for any reason--the Mortuary Arts Board office MUST be notified immediately. There are papers that must be signed by the apprentice and supervising licensee that verify your employment. Once the apprentice has found new employment, it will be necessary to re-register with the board. The apprenticeship period is for a minimum of one (1) full year, so the longer time taken off between jobs--the longer it is going to take to complete the apprenticeship. A list of job openings is posted on the board’s website and is updated regularly.
If your funeral home utilizes a preneed counselor, please allow the apprentice funeral director an opportunity to sit in on several preneed arrangement conferences in order to provide the apprentice a first hand look on how preneed conferences are conducted. While Kansas law requires a licensed insurance agent to sell prefinanced funeral agreements funded with insurance, no license is required to sell prefinanced agreements funded via trusts, certificates of deposit . . .
Approximately two (2) weeks prior to the due date of the last quarterly progress report, the board will mail the apprentice a "Practical Registration" application. The top half will already be completed. All the apprentice must do is to complete the bottom portion in order to verify the apprenticeship. This application must be signed by the apprentice and the supervising licensee, and it should be returned to the board along with the last quarter progress report and any other required paperwork. Funeral director apprentices must submit appropriate examination and 25-case report applications when submitting their final progress report along with the $200 examination fee.
Once the board has received all of the quarterly progress reports from the apprentice and supervising licensee as well as the "Practical Registration" application, the apprentice will be scheduled an appointment time to meet with the board. The board reviews all quarterly progress reports and will ask questions relating to the apprenticeship and application for licensure. The written funeral director examination will be administered following a successful interview – where the apprenticeship has been approved by the board.
Completion of the full one (1) year apprenticeship, a successful interview with the board, passing the written funeral director examination and payment of an initial prorated licensure fees will result in the issuance of what you've been working so hard for: KANSAS LICENSURE! The board wishes you the best of luck during the apprenticeship process. Please feel free to contact our Topeka office if we can be of any assistance. We are here to assist you during the apprenticeship process. There is no such thing as a “bad” question. Our website contains quite a bit of information, so please take some time to look it over.
Mack Smith, Executive Secretary
Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts
700 SW Jackson St., Suite #904
Topeka, Kansas 66603-3733
Telephone: (785) 296-3980
Fax: (785) 296-0891
Web site: http://www.kansas.gov/ksbma/
Amended February 22, 2010