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Morticians prepare bodies of the deceased for funeral ceremonies and burial. They receive training in a wide range of subjects, including science, embalming and business management. In Alabama, morticians must undergo on-the-job training as embalmers and pass a state exam in order to become morticians. The Alabama Board of Funeral Service oversees the licensing and regulation of morticians and funerals homes in the state.
Attend mortuary college. Alabama state law requires that all morticians have a degree from an accredited mortuary science college or a school that offers an accredited mortuary science program. The state requirements for an accredited program include at least 48 weeks or four quarters that include instruction in mortuary management, legal medicine, toxicology, public health, embalming techniques and several science courses.
Complete an apprenticeship. All prospective morticians must complete a two-year apprenticeship. You can complete the apprenticeship before or after you earn your college degree. Anyone over 16 years old with or working toward a high school diploma or its equivalent can apply for an embalmer or funeral director apprenticeship.
Apply for an apprentice certificate. Once you complete an apprenticeship, you must apply for a certificate from the state board.
Apply to take the state embalmer examination. In order to take the exam, you must present an application to the state board that contains affidavits from two licensed embalmers. The affidavits must state that you meet all of the requirements required to take the exam and that you are of good moral character. In addition to the educational and apprenticeship requirements, exam applicants must be at least 18 years old, citizens of the United States and have finished their apprenticeship no more than two years before taking the exam.
Take the embalmer exam. The state offers the exam at least once every quarter. Applicants receive a notification of where they will take the exam at least 15 days before the test. Applicants must score at least 70 percent on all subjects in order to receive a passing grade. After passing the test, the board issues a license to the applicant. Licenses must be renewed by Oct. 1 of every year. The state sends out license renewal notices no later than Aug. 1.
Follow all state funeral service laws as outlined in the Alabama Code. The state board can revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a license if a mortician violates laws. Morticians found guilty of breaking state regulations can appeal the rulings of the funeral service board to the state’s circuit court.
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- State of Alabama: The Code of Alabama: Title 34, Chapter 13: Funeral Services
- Alabama Board of Funeral Service: Embalmer Application
- Alabama Board of Funeral Service: Apprentice Embalmer Application
- Alabama Board of Funeral Service: Affidavit (Embalmer)
- Alabama Board of Funeral Service: Certification Application
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Funeral Directors
Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.