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Section 41 of Chapter 333 of the Missouri Revised Statutes outlines the requirements for working as an embalmer or mortician in the state. Under the law, prospective morticians must gain a license prior to working in the field. The Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors issues the licenses to candidates with the proper education.
All applicants for a mortician license in Missouri must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent, such as a GED. After completing their secondary education, candidates must attend a post-secondary mortuary science training program approved by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Most of these programs last for two years and culminate in associate degrees though some four-year baccalaureate programs are also featured. When applying for a mortician license, candidates must provide the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors with a transcript from their degree programs for verification purposes.
At the time of publication, only one college in Missouri offered a training program with the approval of the American Board of Funeral Service Education. The school was St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, a public two-year institution. The funeral service degree program at the college culminates in Associate of Applied Science degree. Prior to entering the program, students must complete prerequisite courses in biology, algebra and reading. Admission to the program is competitive; only 28 new students receive admission during the fall and spring semesters.
After graduating from their formal training programs, candidates for a mortician license in Missouri must apply for an apprentice license from the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. The application form is available for download on the board's website. With the apprentice embalmer license, prospective morticians must work under the supervision of a licensed mortician in Missouri. During that time, apprentices must complete the embalming of a minimum of 25 bodies to obtain hands-on education in the field.
In addition to completing the degree program and apprenticeship, prospective Missouri morticians must pass the National Board Examination given by the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. The test consists of 340 multiple-choice questions related to funeral science and arts. Candidates take the test using a computer at Pearson Vue testing centers. As of May 2011, Pearson had locations in Missouri in Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. All prospective morticians must also undergo an oral examination with the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.