How to Become a Mortician in California

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Morticians, often referred to as “funeral directors,” help grieving families prepare for a funeral ceremony by transporting and preparing the body of the deceased. Morticians also organize the funeral itself according to the family’s wishes and budget. California, like all states, requires prospective morticians to acquire a license. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in the funeral industry will grow by 4 percent between 2020 and 2030. Thus, individuals who qualify for a mortician’s license can expect expanding employment opportunities.

Earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree at an accredited institution.

Request that your school send a sealed copy of your college transcripts to the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau at 1675 North Market Rd, Sacramento, California, 95834

Visit the California attorney general’s website at Download and print the Live Scan fingerprinting request form.

Fill out the Live Scan fingerprinting request form. Take it with you to your nearest Live Scan facility. Pay the $32 fee. A Live Scan employee with then take your fingerprints and add them to the state’s database along with the information on your Live Scan request form.

Ask that the Live Scan employee sign your fingerprinting request form. Make a copy of the signed form.

Visit the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau’s website at Download, print and fill out the Application for Funeral Director Examination form.

Submit the Application for Funeral Director Examination form along with a copy of your signed Live Scan fingerprinting request form and a $100 application fee to the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. After receiving your paperwork, the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau will notify you that it has approved your application for processing and you have permission to schedule an exam date.

Contact PSI Exams. As of 2021, PSI Exams is the company that conducts mortician exams in California. Schedule a test date.

Arrive at the testing facility on the testing date. Sit for the computer exam. When you complete the exam, the computer tells you immediately whether you passed or failed. If you passed, the computer system forwards your results to the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.

Mail the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau your $200 license fee after passing the test. You will receive your license in the mail.


The funeral establishment you complete your apprenticeship with must be approved by the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau to train funeral directors.

If you hold an embalmer’s license in another state and have worked as a mortician or embalmer for three out of the past seven years before relocating to California, you do not have to serve an apprenticeship.

If you have any questions, contact the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau at 916-928-7988


If you do not show up at the testing center on your designated testing day, the state considers your funeral director’s application “abandoned.” In order to schedule the test a second time, you must submit a new application and $100 fee.

You must take the exam within one year of submitting your application lest the state consider your application abandoned.


Ciele Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been a consumer advocate and credit specialist for more than 10 years. She currently works in the real-estate industry as a consumer credit and debt specialist. Edwards has experience working with collections, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, loans and credit law.