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A funeral consultant performs a function similar to that of a wedding planner, except he is organizing a funeral. Duties for a consultant include comforting families, overseeing arrangements and details, coordinating transportation for the family to and from the cemetery, and keeping the family within their set budget. Preplanning consultants specialize in helping people sort out the details of their own funerals before they die. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) offers certification for preplanning consultants (CPC). Certification isn't required, but it shows potential clients you have met national standards.
Get training as a funeral consultant that covers topics like preplanning principles, ethics, FTC funeral rules and marketing principles. You can take an online course to prepare you for all facets of the job. On-the-job training is another option, working as an apprentice or assistant to a licensed funeral director, but these types of positions can be difficult to obtain -- especially if you have no previous experience with funeral planning. The NFDA also provides a Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) certification program conducted via seminars or through home study. This training program is the best option for those interested in obtaining certification, because certification is a built-in facet of the program, as long as the applicant finishes the training and passes the test.
Check with your city and state's licensing departments and/or health department to determine if you need a license to practice funeral consultation. Purchase any necessary permits or licenses.
Obtain employment as a funeral consultant. Funeral consultants often work independently and own their own businesses. Funeral homes might also employ certified preplanning consultants to meet with clients.
Consider obtaining certification from NFDA. The NFDA requires 12 months working as a funeral consultant unless you are also a licensed funeral director. If so, that requirement is waived. Fill out the application available on the NFDA's website, submit it, along with the testing fee, and successfully complete the 75-question test to become certified. As of July 2011, the testing fee is $395 for NFDA members or $540 for non-members.
If you plan to take the CPC exam for certification, make sure any training program you enroll in is accredited by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP).
Unless she is also a licensed funeral director, a funeral consultant can't directly arrange a funeral. She can only oversee and coordinate the details with the funeral home and/or director and with other pertinent parties.
K.T. Parker is the author of multiple fiction novels and many articles, mostly about health topics. Her education in nutrition augments her pursuit of a degree in Naturopathy.