The Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers was created in 1951, with grandfather-type provisions for persons and establishments operating prior to the effective date. Licensing exams for funeral director and embalmer applicants were initially created, administered and graded by Board members. This system has evolved into the use of a private sector testing service, selected by contract bid, which resulted in cost savings and more efficient use of staff resources. A statutory amendment in 2001 changed the test administrations from semi-annually to monthly, permitted scheduling of applicants by the testing service, changed payment of test fees from the Board to the applicant directly paying the testing service, and changed license and registration terms to a period of two years. This resulted in an increase in retained revenues, reduced costs, and more efficient use of staff resources and enabled the beginning of a data base conversion process to eliminate duplicate entries and to replace manual tracking of continuing education. A continuing education statute was enacted in 1997.
The Board is staffed by an executive director, administrative assistants, field representatives, and a staff attorney. The administrative assistants perform the office functions for licensure, renewals, complaints, etc. The field representatives conduct pre-licensure inspections and inspect the funeral establishments (funeral homes, embalming services and crematories) annually. The inspections cover the status of licenses, compliance with Board and Federal Trade Commission requirements for price lists and disclosures, sanitation and cleanliness, embalming room equipment, compliance with TOSHA requirements, etc. There are numerous active funeral directors, embalmers, funeral establishments, apprentices and mortuary students registered with the Board.
The Board is a member of the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. As the name implies, the membership is composed of governmental boards and commissions which regulate the funeral profession within their respective jurisdictions. The Conference addresses licensure qualification, examination, state-to-state reciprocity and other issues (such as cremation) which impact the missions of the member boards. Periodic newsletters facilitate the inter-jurisdictional flow of information. The Conference created a committee of the executive directors of the member boards to give a voice to the professional regulators.
The Burial Services Section is staffed by an executive director, an audit program director, an administrative assistant, auditors and a staff attorney. The administrative assistant takes care of all office functions. The field auditors conduct examinations of preneed funeral funds, cemetery improvement care trust funds and cemetery preneed merchandise and services trust funds under the direction of the audit program director. The audits are compliance audits, and therefore primarily concerned with ensuring that deposits and withdrawals comply with statutory requirements. The Burial Services office is a member of the North American Death Care Regulators Association (DCRA) whose members are full-time government employees who regulate cemeteries in their jurisdictions.